Balasore: For the first time, India
today conducted the night trial of its indigenously developed
beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missile `Astra` in
Defence sources said the sophisticated missile was
test-fired from a launcher in launch pad number two of the
Integrated Test Range complex at Chandipur, about 15km from
here, at about 8.15 pm.
The single stage, solid fuelled `Astra` missile is more
advanced in its category than the contemporary BVR missiles
and is capable of engaging and destroying highly maneuverable
supersonic aerial targets, Defence Research Development
Organisation sources said.
The 3.8m long missile, which has a diametre of 178mm,
can carry a warhead containing explosives weighing 15 kg and
can be fitted to any fighter aircraft.
It is intended to be eventually integrated with IAF`s
Sukhoi-30 MKI, MiG-29, Mirage-2000, Jaguar and the Tejas Light
Combat Aircraft, the sources said.
Describing `Astra` as a futuristic missile, DRDO
scientists said the weapon could intercept the target 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-system have been validated," the sources said.
Though the exact range of today`s trial has not been
disclosed, DRDO scientists are working to ensure that `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 last two trials of Astra, conducted on January 11
from the same base, were successful.