As part of its developmental trials, Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM), Astra was successfully launched from Chandipur, Odisha, on Friday to validate its reconfigured propulsion, control and guidance systems.

The launch was carried out against an electronic target, although Pilotless Target Aircraft Lakshya was used to check the effectiveness of systems such as the ground radar.

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) scientists said Friday’s trial was only a rehearsal.

Second test

The missile would be test-fired again on Saturday with an actual seeker to intercept Lakshya.

In Friday’s mission, Astra was guided towards the electronic target in a ground-to-air launch.

The altitude of engagement was 4 km and all the parameters were validated, the scientists said.

The missile was also tested for midcourse guidance against an electronic target.

Designed to intercept and destroy enemy aircraft at supersonic speeds (1.2 to 1.4 Mach) in head-on and tail-chase modes, the missile uses solid propellant and can carry a conventional warhead weighing 15 kg.

The 3.8-metre long Astra is the smallest of the missiles developed by DRDO.

Different altitudes

It can be launched from different altitudes and cover 110 km when fired from an altitude of 15 km, reach 44 km when launched from an altitude of eight km, and 21 km when launched from the sea-level.

After completion of all developmental trials, Astra will be eventually integrated with combat fighter aircraft Sukhoi-30, MIG-29 and the Light Combat Aircraft.

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