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India tests Astra air-to-air missile

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BALASORE, ORISSA (PTI): India on Friday carried out the ballistic flight test of Astra – beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile – from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur near here.

The missile was fired around 0950 hours, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) sources said, adding two more tests are likely to be conducted in the next two days.

The missile is envisaged to intercept and destroy enemy aircraft at supersonic speeds in the head-on mode at a range of 80 km and in tail-chase mode at 20 km.

“The main purpose of today's trial is to gauge the performance of the motor, propulsion system and the configurations of the vehicle and aero-dynamics evaluation," said a DRDO scientist.

The data is being analysed by the scientists to ascertain the outcome of the trial.

The missile, after its final trials, would be integrated with fighter aircraft Su-30 MKI. Astra missiles would also be carried by MiG-29 and Light Combat Aircraft Tejas.

Astra, which uses solid propellant, can carry a conventional warhead of 15 kg. It is the smallest of the missiles developed by the DRDO in terms of size and weight.

It is 3.8-metre long and has a diameter of 178 mm with an overall launch weight of 160 kg. The missile could be launched from different altitudes – it can cover 110 km when launched from an altitude of 15 km, 44 km when fired from an altitude of eight km and 21 km when the altitude is at sea-level.

DRDO officials said it is more advanced than the similar class of missiles of the US, Russia and France.

The missile’s captive flight tests from Su-30MKI were carried out near Pune in November 2009 when seven sorties were conducted.

Astra’s first flight trial took place on May 9, 2003 from the ITR at Chandipur.

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Astra  Missile  
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