Indian Air Force is expected to receive country’s first indigenous beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) Astra by the end of this year. Indian defense scientists had set this revised timeline due to delay in getting critical components. The scheduled date of completion of the project was September 2012.
“The project was delayed because of technological challenges and delay in availability of critical components but now it is expected to be completed in December 2016,” Dr. Subhash Bhamre, India’s Minister of State for Defense informed the Parliament.
Indian Air Force Sukhoi 30 MKI jets had fired the Astra during the Ìron Fist’ fire-power demonstration in the deserts of Rajasthan this March. India is planning to integrate `the Astra missiles on its next generation Tejas light combat aircraft.
Features of Astra (BVRAAM) Missile
- Due to its smokeless engine it’s extremely tough to visually confirm the missiles trajectory of indigenously designed astra missile.
- With the help of Active seeker the missile can be used in buddy mode too, which means a Su 30 MKI can launch the Astra from long range and an nearby friendly aircraft can update the missile to the correct path thanks to its mid-course update.
- Astra is a fire and forget missile which allows the aircraft to launch the missile from an decent distance from an enemy aircraft and fly back from the hostile zone.
- Another important feature is the impressive G power the missile can sustain; the missile can sustain 40G’s whereas manned fighters can maneuver only 9G’s.
- Astra has an impressive flight altitude of around 20 kilometers. (60,000+ feet)
- Astra is capable of achieving nearly 4.0 mach. Most of the Fighter jets can pull up to 2.5 mach only. The missile can be effective in tail chase mode.
- Astra is equipped with ECCM suites to outperform aircraft’s countermeasure and radio interference.
There are several plans to indigenous the missile completely by replacing Russian R 77 radar seeker into Indian made one. And the improved Mark II version with an increased range is also under planning. Su 30 MKI, MiG 29, Mirage 2000, Jaguar and Tejas (India’s indigenously developed fighter plane) are to be armed with Astra and also 36 Rafale planes will be equipped with indigenously developed astra missile which can prove to be a force multiplier of Indian Airforce.
Source:- Sputnik News
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Source: Defence Update