Balasore (Orissa): India Wednesday test-fired
`Astra`, the indigenously developed beyond visual range (BVR)
air-to-air missile at Chandipur near here, hours after
carrying out the first night trial of the weapon.
The sophisticated missile was fired from a launcher at
the Integrated Test Range (ITR) complex, about 15 kms from
here, at about 2.07 pm, defence sources said.
The second consecutive trial comes after the missile was
test-fired for the first time for night trial in inclement
weather conditions last night. The data generated were being
thoroughly examined by Defence Research and Development
Organisation (DRDO) scientists, the sources said.
The single stage, solid-fuelled `Astra` is more advanced
in its category than the contemporary BVR missiles and is
capable of engaging and destroying highly manoeuvrable
supersonic aerial targets, DRDO scientists said.
The 3.8-metre-long missile, which has a diameter of 178
mm, can carry a warhead containing explosives weighing 15 kgs
and can be fitted to any fighter aircraft.
It is intended for eventual integration with the IAFs
Sukhoi-30 MKI, MiG-29, Mirage-2000, Jaguar and the Tejas Light
Combat Aircraft, the sources said.
Describing `Astra` as a futuristic missile, the
scientists said the weapon could intercept targets at
supersonic speed (mach 1.2 to 1.4).
"Before being made fully operational, the complex
missile system will undergo some more trials, though tests of
its navigation, control, air frame, propulsion and other
sub-systems have been validated," the sources said.
Though the exact range of today`s trial was not
disclosed, DRDO scientists are working to ensure `Astra`
performs effectively at different altitudes - one cruising at
an altitude of 15km with 90 to 110km range, another at an
altitude up to 30,000 ft, having a range of 44km and the third
at sea level with a range of 25km, the sources said.
The trials of Astra, conducted on January 11 this year
from the same base, were successful.