The Indian Air Force will officially test fire Astra, the Beyond-Visual-Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM), from the Su-30MKI aircraft for the first time during the Iron Fist exercise this week.
The missile launch will take place on March 18 in the Pokhran deserts in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, TOI reported Monday. Astra recently completed its user trials.
As per Dr K Jayaraman, director, Defence Research & Development Laboratory (DRDL), Hyderabad, the primary development agency for Astra the development and trials of the missile having been put on a fast track and the missile shall go into production by year end.
Dr Jayaraman said that recently the Radio Frequency (RF) Seeker performance trials have successfully spelled out Astra's capability to lock-on before launch. He further said that Astra's capability with respect to undergoing manoeuvres involving very high gravitational forces upto the order of 30-Gs, engaging Lakshya (pilotless aircraft) target with precision, firing from various altitudes (from sea level to 20 kms) at different Mach speeds and RF seekers capable to engage targets during the terminal stage requiring no guidance etc has already been tested successfully.
Astra is capable of carrying a 15 Kg High Explosive warhead at a Mach 4 speed. It can engage manoeuvring targets moving at high supersonic speeds and varying distances and heights and has a proximity fuse. The missile itself can be launched from various altitudes with varying ranges even during the aircraft manoeuvres.