An Indian Air Force (IAF) Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter successfully test-fired the indigenous Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Astra missile with a range of over 70 kilometers off Odisha coast as part of user trials.
- The Astra missile was test-fired under the guidance of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) from an airbase in West Bengal.
- Various Radars, Electro-Optical Tracking System (EOTS) and Sensors tracked the missile and confirmed its engagement with the target.
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- The Astra missile is an indigenously developed sophisticated Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM), developed by DRDO, with Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) as the lead laboratory.
- The (BVRAAM) technology enables fighter-pilots to shoot precisely at the enemy targets which are beyond their visual range.
- It is the first air-to-air missile developed by India.
- Astra is designed to be capable of engaging targets at varying ranges and altitudes allowing for engagement of both short-range targets at a distance of 20 km and long-range targets up to a distance of 80 km.
- Astra missile has some highly advanced features like Electronic Counter-Countermeasures or ECCM which enables Astra missile to overcome defensive measures put forth for the target by the enemy.
- Another feature of Astra's missile is that it has an option to choose between “Lock on Before Launch – LOBL” and “Lock-on After Launch – LOAL”. The latter option allows the fighter aircraft to safely shoot and scoot after launching the missile towards the target.
- Astra has been integrated with Indian Air Force's Sukhoi Su-30MKI and is in the process of being integrated with Dassault Mirage 2000, Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 fighters as well as the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft Tejas.
- In October 2018, the IAF had successfully test-fired the solid propellant Astra missile to judge its capability in the engagement of pilotless target in different modes of maneuvering, off-boresight, medium and long ranges.
- The Astra missiles are equipped with mid-course inertial guidance and terminal active radar homing.