Ravi Sharma

BANGALORE: India’s missile programme took a crucial step forward on Saturday with Indian Air Force test pilots carrying out the captive flight trials of the indigenously designed and developed Astra beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM).

A Su-30MKI combat aircraft especially tasked for the trials took off from Air Force Station Lohegaon (Pune) for a 90-minute sortie with the Astra missile. Till Thursday, four sorties, including flying the missile to super sonic speeds and to 7Gs, had been accomplished. Captive trials are mandatory to actual firing of missile from the aircraft.