India has successfully test-fired indigenously developed and beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missile ‘Astra’ from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur in Orissa, said media reports.
Indian Express reported citing defence sources that the missile was fired at about 9.45 am from a launcher in the launch pad No 2 of the ITR complex and that another test is expected shortly after thorough data analysis of the flight test.
“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,” a source from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) at ITR was quoted as saying.
The reports said that 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’.
Reuter India quoted SP Dash, head of the ITR as saying that the missile has a range of 25 km (15 miles) and can be fitted into any fighter aircraft.
Another report said that the weapon could intercept a target at supersonic speeds between mach 1.2 to 1.4 (mach one is equivalent to 1236 kmph).