Final trials of air-to-air missile Astra successful
Hyderabad: The final development trials of the air-to-air missile Astra, developed by the Hyderabad-based Defence Research and Development Organisation, was successfully completed, an official statement said on Friday. Astra is capable of destroying high speed manoeuvring supersonic aerial targets. The tests were carried out between September 11 and 14 over the Bay of Bengal off the Chandipur coast in Odisha.
Astra, a Beyond Visual Range Air to Air Missile (meaning the target is not in view when the missile is launched) has completed seven trials conducted against Pilotless Target Air-craft. The missions included engagement of target at very long range, engagement of high manoeuvring target at medium range and multiple launches of missiles in salvo to engage multiple targets.
“All the sub-systems including the indigenous RF Seeker performed accurately, meeting all the parameters and objectives. Two missiles were also launched in the combat configuration with the warhead and the targets were neutralised,” the statement said.
Astra likely to be inducted in 2018
‘This effort for building a state-of-the-art BVRAAM by Defence Research and Development Organisation, together with Indian Air Force has completed the development phase of the weapon system successfully,” it added.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited has played a role in modifying the aircraft for weapon integration. The sub-system of the indigenous Critical Radio Frequency seekers has been developed at DRDO’s Research Centre Imarat in Hyderabad.
The system is likely to be inducted into the Indian Air Force in 2018. Dr G. Satheesh Reddy, scientific advisor to the defence minister told DC: “The country has achieved self-reliance in Critical Radio Frequency seekers technology. The series of successful Astra Beyond Visual Range Air to Air Missile flight trials have boosted the country’s defence capability and will play a major role in attaining sufficiency in missile systems.”
Dr G. Satheesh Reddy who is also director general, Missiles and Strategic Systems, said the technologies developed under the programme will help to develop more variants of air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles.
“More than 50 public and private industries have contributed in building the Astra weapon system. Dr S. Venugopal, programme director led the launch operations and flight trials along with the teams from multiple organisations,” said the DRDO statement.