The Indian Air Force carried out a user trial of the country’s indigenously designed and manufactured beyond-visual range air-to-air missile, the Astra.
Tested from a Su-30MKI, this is the latest in a series of successful trials that has culminated in a limited-series production of 50 missile being sanctioned.
With a range of up to 110 km at certain altitudes and engaging specific classes of targets, the Astra has demonstrated good range, ECCM and overall performance against a wide spectrum of targets.
While all initial trials have been done with the Su-30MKI, the IAF revealed plans to equip all of its frontline combat aircraft with the type. These include the indigenous Tejas, the upgraded MiG-29 and the upgraded Mirage 2000. These aircraft are currently using the Derby, R-77 and Mica respectively as their primary BVR missiles.
Further developments of the Astra include extended range versions with ranges of 120km and 300 km respectively as well as a vertical-launch SAM version – the QRSAM – which has begun testing.
Photo credit: Indian Air Force / Astra air-to-air missile launched from a Su-30MKI.