India conducts successful test of first indigenous air-to-air Beyond Visual Range (BVR) ‘Astra’ missile

India tested its first indigenous air-to-air Beyond Visual Range (BVR) ‘Astra’ missile from a Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jet, marking an important achievement in the development of complex BVR weapons. Astra will initially provide a 44-km range with “high single-shot kill probability”, while its Mark-II version will be able to hit hostile aircraft over 100 km away.

Astra v/s Brahmos Cruise Missile:

India is also likely to initiate testing the 290-km supersonic BrahMos cruise missile from the heavy-duty Sukhoi-30MKIs by the end of 2014. So, while Astra is being developed to smash enemy aircrafts, BrahMos will give incisive land-strike capability against hostile targets.

Importance:

Currently, IAF jets are armed with very costly Russian, French and Israeli missiles.  These indigenously developed Astra Missiles are comparatively very cheaper. Only a few countries like the US, Russia, France and Israel have managed to develop BVR missiles till now. It is therefore important due to economic and strategic reasons for India to have an indigenous air-to-air BVR missile like Astra. 

‘Astra’ missile:

  • Developer: DRDO
  • Range: Short range-20 km and Long range-80 km
  • Type: Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Air-to-Air, all-weather
  • Special features: “Target lock-on” capabilities both before and after launch;  Advanced ECCM (Electronic Counter-Counter Measures); Active radar terminal guidance; Smokeless propulsion; Process improved effectiveness in multi-target scenarios

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Categories: Defence Current Affairs 2017Science and Technology Current Affairs - 2017

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