Sukhoi snag hits Astra testing

May 20, 2015 02:49 am | Updated November 16, 2021 08:46 pm IST - HYDERABAD:

The crash of a Su-30 fighter in Assam and a snag in another of these aircraft worry the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as the trial of its beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile, Astra, against a simulated target from the Integrated Test Range in Odisha could not be conducted on Tuesday.

Following the snag on Monday, DRDO missile technologists postponed the trial to Tuesday.

Senior DRDO scientists told The Hindu that spare parts for the aircraft were being flown in. The efforts needed for an air launch were more than what was required for a ground launch.

Referring to the crash, a senior scientist said normally the Indian Air Force would ground all Su-30 aircraft in the wake of an accident to find out “if it is a common problem”. He said the DRDO team would await clearance from the IAF to conduct the trial. Three trials spread over two to three days would be conducted as the missile would be released at different altitudes. High manoeuvrability of the aircraft would be looked into during the trials.

The 3.8-metre-tall Astra is the smallest of the missiles developed by the DRDO and can carry a 15-kg warhead. It can intercept and destroy enemy aircraft at supersonic speeds in tail and head-on modes. It can be launched at different altitudes and from sea level.

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