(This Article is originally published by the swarajya mag)
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has formally announced the induction of the indigenously built Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air missile Astra.
Astra has a range of 110 km and has been integrated with Sukhoi-30MKI currently. It is set to be integrated with Tejas, MiG-29 (fleets) and Mirage 2000 going ahead.
The 110 km range of Astra counteracts Pakistan’s edge over India in air-to-air weaponry. This reportedly came into light during the two air forces’ confrontation after India’s strikes at the Balakot terror camp. The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) had deployed AIM-120 AMRAAM with a range of 110 km. The maximum India managed to counter that was through the R-77 which has an 80 km range.
Subsequently, India’s Su-30 MKIs were pegged back into defensive maneuvers once AMRAAM-armed PAF F-16s attacked on India post the Balakot strikes.
The IAF can engage in “both short-range targets at a distance of 20 km and long-range targets up to a distance of 80-110 km,” said an IAF spokesperson. Astra has a mid-course internal guidance with terminal active radar homing and is also the country’s first indigenous air-to-air missile.
Astra Beyond Visual Range Missile Is One Of The Worlds Fastest And Best BVR, The Program On Astra Missile Started In 1990 When It Was Originally Developed For HAL TEJAS by DRDO.