India test-fires Astra missile from Sukhoi jet


India has successfully test-fired its first indigenously developed beyond visual range (BVR) Astra missile from a Russian-built Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jet.

On Sunday, the air-to-air missile was fired from a Sukhoi-30MKI military aircraft at a naval range in western India, and met all its mission objectives.

According to a press release from India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), the launch was captured by side and forward looking high-speed cameras and the separation was exactly as per simulation.

Astra is reportedly an all-weather missile with active radar terminal guidance, excellent electronic counter-counter measures features, smokeless propulsion and process improved effectiveness in multi-target scenario.

The missile with a range of 60 kilometers is also said to possess high single-shot kill probability. The single-shot kill probability is a measure of the chance of destroying a target with a single missile. A more advanced version of Astra is currently being developed by the DRDO and it is likely to have a range of more than 100 kilometers. The sophisticated variant is expected to be test-fired by the yearend.

DRDO chief Avinash Chander said, “Astra’s successful launch from the Su-30 combat aircraft is a major step in missile-aircraft integration. Many more trials are planned and will be conducted to clear the launch envelope.”

“The missiles have undergone rigorous testing on Su-30 in the captive mode for avionics integration and seeker evaluation in 2013. The project has thus reached the final stage of testing and evaluation, and the Mark-II variant with higher range capability is also planned to be tested by the end of 2014,” DRDO spokesperson Ravi Gupta said.

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