- Indian Air Force conducted a series of flight trials of Beyond Visual Range Air to Air Missile ‘Astra’ from September 26th to October 3rd at the Integrated Test Range in Balasore.
- Designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Laboratory, ASTRA is country’s first indigenous beyond Visual Range Air to Air Missile.
- Astra has been tested six times under different launch conditions and ranges as part of the final development trial. 30 and other air platforms. The missile is expected to be inducted into IAF in 2019.
- Astra is India’s first beyond-visual-range (BVR) air-to-air missile indigenously designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
- It is intended to engage and destroy aerial targets with high manoeuvrability and supersonic speeds.
- The missile’s advanced air combat capabilities allow it to engage multiple high-performance targets.
- Astra was planned to equip the Indian Air force’s Su-30MKI and Mirage 2000 multi-role combat fighters, and MiG-29 and MiG-21 Bison fighter jet platforms, as well as the Indian Navy’s Sea Harrier jet fighter.
- It will also be integrated with the Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA), which is manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
Features and Design
- The highly agile, accurate and reliable missile features high single-shot kill probability and is capable of operating under all weather conditions.
- Length of the weapon system is 3.8m, while its diameter is 178mm, and an overall launch weight is160kg.
- Its low all-up weight provides high launch range capability and the system’s airborne launcher can be used with different fighter aircraft.
- The electronic counter-countermeasures feature improves the missile’s target tracking capability by reducing the effect of electronic countermeasures of the enemy targets in jamming environments.
- About Integrated Guided Missile Program of India
- The Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme was an Indian Ministry of Defenceprogramme for the research and development of the comprehensive range of missiles.
- The programme was managed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation and Ordnance Factories Board in partnership with other Indian government political organisations.
- The project started in 1982–83 with popular political supportfrom the successive governments and bestowed under the leadership of Abdul Kalam who oversaw its ending in 2008 after these strategic missiles were successfully developed.
- On 8 January 2008, the DRDO formally announced the successful completion of the IGMDP. It added that the strategic integrated guided missile programme was completed with its design objectives achieved since most of the missiles in the programme had been developed and inducted by the Indian armed forces.
- The four projects, to be pursued concurrently, were born under the IGMDP:
- Short range surface-to-surface missile (code-named Prithvi)
- Short range low-level surface-to-air missile (Code-named Trishul)
- Medium range surface-to-air missile (code-named Akash) and
- Third-generation anti-tank missile (code-named Nag).
- The Agni missilewas initially conceived in the IGMDP as a technology demonstrator project in the form of a re-entry vehicle, and was later upgraded to a ballistic missile with different ranges. As part of this program, the Interim Test Range at Balasore in Orissa was also developed for missile testing.
- Prithvi is a tactical surface-to-surfaceshort-range ballistic missile (SRBM) developed by DRDO of India under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program . It is deployed by India’s Strategic Forces Command.
- Trishul is a short range surface-to-air missile developed by India. It was developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation as a part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program.
- It can also be used as an anti-sea skimmer from a ship against low flying attacking missiles.
- Akash is a medium-range mobile surface-to-air missiledefence system developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation and produced by Bharat Dynamics Limited for Missile Systems and Bharat Electronics for other radars, control centres in India.
- The missile system can target aircraft up to 30 km away, at altitudes up to 18,000 m. It has the capability to “neutralise aerial targets like fighter jets, cruise missiles and air-to-surface missiles” as well as ballistic missiles. It is in operational service with the Indian Armyand the Indian Air Force.
- An Akash battery comprises a single Rajendra 3D passive electronically scanned arrayradar and four launchers with three missiles each, all of which are interlinked. Each battery can track up to 64 targets and attack up to 12 of them.
- The missile has a 60 kg (130 lb) high-explosive, pre-fragmented warhead with a proximity fuse.
- The Akash system is fully mobile and capable of protecting a moving convoy of vehicles. The launch platform has been integrated with both wheeled and tracked vehicles.
- While the Akash system has primarily been designed as an air defence SAM, it also has been tested in a missile defence role. The system provides air defence missile coverage for an area of 2,000 km².
- The Nag missile is an Indian third generation “fire-and-forget” anti-tank guided missile.
- It is an all-weather, top attackmissile with a range of 3 to 7 km. It is being developed by India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program and is manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited.