Launched from a Su-30MKI it hit its target 65 km away

The indigenously-developed Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Astra missile was successfully test-fired by the Indian Air Force from a Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft off the Goa coast on Friday to demonstrate interception of a simulated target.

This was the second successful firing of the missile from a Su-30MKI in as many as 12 days. Another launch was conducted on June 9 from an altitude of five km to check the missile’s aerodynamics and stability.

In Friday’s trial, the missile was fired from an altitude of 6.8 km against a simulated long-range target 65 km away in a controlled and guided flight.

Astra’s project director S. Venugopal said all parameters, like the guidance of the missile towards the target during the terminal phase, were validated in the mission. He said the demonstration of the long-range interception proved that Astra was on par with similar missiles of its class in the world.

Both tests have demonstrated the repeatability, robustness and endurance capability of Astra as a weapon system.

DRDO Director-General and Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister Avinash Chander attributed the success of the trials to the joint efforts of DRDO and IAF. He congratulated the IAF test team and ASTE (Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment) for carrying out the trials despite heavy monsoons on the western coast.

The success of the trials was a confirmation of DRDO’s maturity in air-to-air missile design and implementation, said DRDO Director-General (Missiles and Strategic Systems) V.G. Sekaran.

Dr. Venugopal said the next firing from a Su-30MKI would be against a real target (a Lakshya pilotless target aircraft) after the monsoon.

While the missile was launched at subsonic speed in the trials conducted so far, future tests would be in supersonic to expand the launch envelope.

The project director said all pre-induction trials would be completed by next year and the missile would meet all the performance requirements of the IAF.

Keywords: Astra missile