- Astra is a beyond visual range air – to – air missile developed by defence research and development organisation. The missile is India’s first all-weather beyond visual range air to air missile. the missile can engage and destroy aerial targets with high manoeuvrability and supersonic speed. Astra is developed as part of an integrated guided missile development programme. MK1 variant of Astra was first tested in 2003. Latest trials of Astra missile was successfully conducted from a Su 30MKI Fighter on September last year. The missile can be launched from various Fighter platforms like Su-30MKI, Mirage 2000, MIG-29 and it will also be integrated with the Tejas light combat aircraft.
- The missile features high single-shot kill probability because of its high agility, reliability, and accuracy and can operate under all weather conditions. Missile measures 3.8m in length, 178mm in diameter, and overall launch weight is 160kg. The missile carries a 15kg high explosive pre-fragmented warhead activated by a proximity fuse.
- Missile’s maximum range is about 110 km when it fired from an altitude of 15000 meters with a speed of Mach 4.5. Missile features lock on its target before or after its launch.
- The missile uses a fiber optic gyro inertial navigation system. It provides mid-course updates through a secure datalink with terminal guidance through active radar homing. Agat will supply an active radar seeker with a homing range of 25km. The missile features electronic countermeasures which reduce the effect of electronic countermeasures of the enemy targets.
- The Missile is powered by a single-stage, smokeless, solid-fuel propulsion system. the launch range and launch altitude of the missile are 80km and 20km respectively. the missile can perform 40g turns near sea level while engaging a moving target.
- DRDO is also working on the development of other variants of missile. Astra IR close combat missile with imaging infrared homing for a range of up to 40km. Astra MK2 variant with a range of 160km which will incorporate booster ramjet sustainer propulsion system.
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