Astra, the beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile, is now set for production and induction into the armed forces.

A set of seven development trials were successfully conducted between September 11-14 over the Bay of Bengal, off the coast of Chandipur in Odisha. In all the attempts, the missile hit and destroyed the pilotless target aircraft, the Union Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

With these final trials, the indigenous missile system developed by the Defence Research Development Organisation, with the active participation of several private industries and the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, will be manufactured by the Hyderabad-based Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL).

Manufacturing facility The Astra manufacturing facility at the BDL Bhanur unit near Sangareddy in Telangana was inaugurated last month by Arun Jaitleywhen he was in charge of the Defence Ministry. It comprises Astra launcher and missile, and is designed as a BVR missile with a range of 110 km in head-on mode and 20 km in tail-chase mode. The missile is to arm the Indian Air Force, and is to be integrated with the Sukhoi multi-role fighters initially. During the trials, the missions included engagement of target at a very-long range, high manoeuvring target at medium-range and multiple launches of missiles in salvo to engage multiple targets. All the sub-systems, including the indigenous RF Seeker performed accurately, meeting all the mission parameters and objectives, defence scientists stated.

HAL has played a role in modifying the aircraft for weapons integration. More than 50 public and private industries have contributed in building the Astra weapon system, according to S Venugopalan, Programme Director, who led the launch operations and flight trials along with teams from multiple organisations.

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