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Final trials of Astra missile system completed

M Somasekhar Hyderabad | Updated on January 10, 2018

Astra, the indigenously developed air-to-air missile, successfully completed development trials over the Bay of Bengal, moving one step closer to its induction into the Air Force, the Defence Ministry said on Friday.

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

In a set of seven development trials conducted during September 11-14 over the Bay of Bengal, off the coast of Chandipur, Odisha, the missile hit and destroyed pilotless target aircraft, the Ministry of Defence claimed in a statement today.

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

The missile is the product of research and development by the Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), while its avionics and RF Seeker have been developed by the RCI. Both organisations are based in Hyderabad.

During the trials, the missions included engagement of target at very long range, a 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 said.

In another exercise, two missiles launched in the combat configuration with warheads neutralised their targets. With this, DRDO together with the Indian Air Force (IAF) has completed the development phase of the weapon system successfully.

HAL has played a role in modifying 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.

Nirmala Sitharaman, who took charge as Defence Minister recently, congratulated DRDO, IAF, Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSU) and industries for the successful trials of the Astra Missile. The Chief of DRDO, S Christopher, and Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister, G Satheesh Reddy, also congratulated 'Team Astra'. They said the technologies developed under the programme would form the building blocks for the development of more variants of air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles.

Published on September 16, 2017

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