India’s domestically built Astra beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAM) failed to launch during a latest trial conducted off the Odisha coast on 16 March.

An undisclosed Indian Defence official was quoted by The New Indian Express as saying that the missile failed to fire due to technical problem in the system, even though the pilotless target aircraft (PTA) flew as per schedule.

The failure prompted the missile manufacture, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), to defer the trial.

The test was conducted to check the control system and stability of the missile, allowing for its quick induction into the Indian Armed Forces.

"The test was conducted to check the control system and stability of the missile."

A part of the final round induction phase, the trial was originally scheduled to be carried out in collaboration with the Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, Odhisa, on 12 March, but was postponed for unknown reasons.

Meanwhile, ITR director MVKV Prasad told the news agency that the trial would likely be conducted over the next two days.

The missile had already failed twice due to weapon systems malfunctions in 2011, but successfully completed a series of developmental tests, captive flights, and trials from Su-30MKI fighter aircraft between 2012 and 2014.

The Astra is designed and developed by DRDO. It is an all-aspect, all-weather missile with active radar terminal guidance, excellent electronic counter-countermeasures features, smokeless propulsion, and a high single shot kill probability.

Power for the missile comes from a solid fuel propellant. The missile carries a 15kg high-explosive warhead, and can engage both short-range aerial targets located at up to 20km and long-range targets at a distance of up to 80km using alternative propulsion modes.