Reasons for being in news
Recently Astra was successfully test fired by the Indian Air Force from Su-30 aircraft.
Astra is India’s first beyond-visual-range (BVR) air-to-air missile indigenously designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). It is intended to engage and destroy aerial targets with high manoeuvrability and supersonic speeds.
Only a handful of missile builders – in the United States, Russia, Europe and China – have mastered the technologies that go into air-to-air missiles.India has now joined that elite group.
Astra has been integrated with Indian Air Force’s Sukhoi Su-30MKI and will be integrated with Dassault Mirage 2000 and Mikoyan MiG-29 in the future.
Design and features
1 . It features high single-shot kill probability (SSKP) and is capable of operating under all weather conditions.
2 . Astra is 3.6 m long with a diameter of 178 mm and weighs 154 kg .
3 . The system’s airborne launcher can be used with different fighter aircrafts.
4 . It can be launched in both autonomous and buddy mode operation and can achieve lock-on on its target before or after it is launched.
5 . The maximum range of Astra is 110 km in head-on chase mode and 20 km in tail chase mode. The maximum range is achieved when the missile launched from an altitude of 15 km .
6 . Astra uses a smokeless solid fuelled motor that can propel the missile to a speed of Mach 4.5 and allows operation from a maximum altitude of 20 km.
7 . It carries a 15 kg high-explosive pre-fragmented warhead activated by a proximity fuse.
8 . Astra is equipped with electronic counter-countermeasures to allow operation even during enemy attempts to jam the seeker using electronic countermeasures.
9 . It uses an inertial guidance system driven by a fibre optic gyroscope with terminal guidance through active radar homing.
10 . It is capable of receiving course corrections through a secure data link.
11 . Astra is designed to be capable of engaging targets at varying range and altitudes allowing for engagement of both short-range targets at a distance of 20 km and long-range targets up to a distance of 80 km.