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India successfully tests two air-to-air Astra missiles

A file photo of Astra air-to-air missile test.

BALASORE, ORISSA (PTI): Achieving a new milestone, India on Monday successfully test-fired two indigenously developed air-to-air missiles 'Astra' in quick succession from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur in Orissa.

The beyond visual range (BVR) missiles were test-fired from a ground launcher in the launch pad No. 2 of the ITR complex at about 0945 IST and 1206 IST, defence sources said.

Describing both the trials as "successful", they said the data of the flight test was being thoroughly analysed.

“Before being made fully operational, the complex missile system will undergo some more trials, though tests on its navigation, control, air frame, propulsion and other sub-systems have been validated,” said a source from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) at ITR.

The single-stage, solid fuel Astra missile “is more advanced in its category than the contemporary BVR missiles and it is capable of engaging and destroying highly manoeuvrable supersonic aerial targets,” the source said.

Describing Astra as a ‘futuristic missile’, DRDO scientists said the weapon could intercept a target at supersonic speeds between mach 1.2 and 1.4 (mach one is equivalent to 1236 kmph).

"The tests on the missile's navigation, control, air frame, propulsion and other sub-system have been validated," they said.

The complex missile system would undergo some more trials before being made fully operational, they said.

Though the exact range of Monday’s trial was not disclosed, scientists are working to ensure that Astra performs effectively at different altitudes – one cruising at an altitude of 15 km with 90 to 110 km range, another at an altitude up to 30,000 ft, having a range of 44 km and the third at sea level with a range of 30 km.

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