Developmental trial of Astra missile conducted
The sophisticated missile was test-fired from a launcher in launch pad-2 of the ITR at about 01.25 PM targeting a flying object being supported by a pilotless target air-craft 'Lakshya', defence sources said.
The single stage, solid fuelled 'Astra' missile is more advanced in its category than the contemporary BVR missiles and is capable of engaging and destroying highly manoeuvrable supersonic aerial targets.
The 3.8 metre long missile, having a diameter of 178 mm with an overall launch weight of 160 kg, can carry a warhead containing conventional explosives weighing 15 kg. It can be fitted to any fighter aircraft.
It is intended to be eventually integrated with Sukhoi-30 MKI, MiG-29, Mirage-2000, Jaguar and the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force, the sources said.
Describing 'Astra' as a futuristic missile, DRDO scientists said the weapon could intercept the target at supersonic speed.
"Before being made fully operational, the complex missile system will undergo some more trials, though tests of its navigation, control, air frame, propulsion and other sub-system have been validated," the sources said.
DRDO scientists are working to ensure that 'Astra' performs effectively at different altitudes – one 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 while the third at sea level with a range of 21 km, the sources added.