Astra Air-to-Air Missile,Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Missile,Next Generation,Indian Armed Forces
Astra is India’s first beyond-visual-range (BVR) air-to-air missile indigenously designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Astra is designed to be capable of engaging targets at varying range and altitudes allowing for engagement of both short-range targets (up to 20 km) and long-range targets (up to 80 km) using alternative propulsion modes.
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.
Design and Features
The weapons system has a length of 3.8m,while its diameter is 178mm.It has overall launch weight of 160kg. Its low all-up weight provides high launch range capability and the system’s airborne launcher can be used with different fighter aircraft.
With the high agile,accurate and reliable features the missile is capable of operating under all weathers.it has high single shot kill probability (SSKP).
The Missile has improved target tracking capability by the electronic counter-countermeasures (ECCM).It functions by reducing the effect of electonic countermeasures of the enemy targets in jamming environments.
The Astra weapon system is equipped with a high-explosive pre-fragmented directional warhead that weighs 15 kg.The warhead is activated by the radio proximity fuse (RFP) developed by HAL. This RPF weighs approximately 2.5kg and has a detection range of up to 30m, a detonation range of 15m and a missile target velocity between 100m/s and 1,600m/s.
The Guidance System consists of an upgraded mid-course internal and active radar terminal homing systems range upto 15km. It allows the Astra BVR missile to locate and track targets at different altitudes.
Engine and Performance
The Astra BVR air-to-air missile is powered by a smokeless, single stage, solid fuel propulsion system.It can hit the target with a launch speed between Mach 0.4 and Mach 2.It has a operational range of 80km and Launch altitude of 20km. The missile can achieve 40 g turns near sea level while engaging a moving target.
- Su-30Mki (Ongoing Trails)
- HAL Tejas (Expected )
- Dassault Rafale (Expected)
- Sukhoi/HAL FGFA (Expected)
- Mirage 2000 (Expected)
- MiG-29 (Expected)
Development and Flight Tests of Astra Missile
The Astra missile is developed as part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) of the Indian Ministry of Defence. DRDO carried out mission analysis, system design, simulation and post-flight analysis of the weapon system.
The Mk-1 variant was first tested in May 2003.DRDO is also developing the Mk-II variant,which will have a higher range. The Mark 2 version of Astra will have a maximum range of 150 km and tail chase range of up to 35 km, and will feature shorter fins than the original Mark 1 design.
Then after In 2009 Capive flight trials were completed with the motor and propulsion system evaluation test flights completed in 2010.Then after in May 2011 baliistic flight tests were held.
Then between 2012-2015 series of test flights have taken place with the latest test fired on 21 May 2015 in which the missile climbed to an altitude of 25 km and went to a very long range during a flight of 150 seconds.The missile zoomed at a speed of 4.5 mach in the eighth developmental trial.
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