An indigenously designed, all-weather beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile, Astra with a range of over 70 kilometres was successfully test-fired from a Sukhoi Su-30MKI combat aircraft yesterday from the Bay of Bengal off the coast of Odisha.
Defence Research and Development Organisation or DRDO initiated the development of this missile which is the premier research and development organisation of the armed forces nationwide. This has been India's first indigenous take at coming up with a missile of an advanced stage of development.
The Astra missile has not just been developed by Defence Research and Development The organisation alone, but it also found its roots with 50 other public and private organisations, involved at various stages of its development while the modifications of the Sukhoi-30 MKI jets to accommodate Astra missiles has been carried out by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
According to the Defence Ministry, a "live target was engaged accurately" by the Astra while the "mission profile was executed in a textbook manner." Radars carried out the tracking of the Astra with its electro-optical tracking sensors and aimed its target successfully.
This air to air missile is capable of engaging targets of distinctive ranges and altitudes with long-range as well as short-range targets while the DRDO has been planning of developing the latest version of the Astra missile having a 300km range. India currently shoots Russian air-to-air missiles from its fleet of frontline Su-30 fighters while it further plans to lay Israeli designed I-Derby and Astra missiles in the future.
This missile potentially can approach the target at a speed of over 5,555 kilometres per hour carrying a 15-kilogramme high-explosive pre-fragmented warhead.
The mission profile was executed in a textbook manner as stated by officials. "Various Radars, Electro-Optical Tracking System (EOTS) and Sensors tracked the missile and confirmed its engagement with the target," the defence statement said.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh too congratulated DRDO and Air Force team for the successful completion of the test.