India will be conducting the final round phase trial of Astra, beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missile on March 12 before inducting it in its Armed Forces.
Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has begun preparation for a fresh trial of the indigenously developed missile from a defense base off the Odisha coast.
“The Astra team has arrived here and they are busy in integrating the missile components. If everything goes as per plan and weather is favorable, the test would be carried out targeting an unmanned aerial vehicle as per schedule,” Indian Express quoted an unnamed source as saying on Monday.
The test is likely to be conducted in association with a team of Air Force officials on March 12 at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur-on-sea.
The missile, sanctioned in 2004 at $1.5 billion, was test fired in May last year over the Arabian Sea off Goa and was declared a success following a host of technical glitches like a defective aerodynamic configuration since its conception.
The BVR missiles are quite complex, with rocket/ramjet propulsion, micro-computers, active radar guidance/inertial navigation systems, terminal radar frequency seekers and the like - since they have to effectively destroy highly-agile supersonic fighters packed with "counter-measures" at long ranges.