The final development flight trials of Astra, the Beyond Visual Range Air to Air Missile (BVRAAM), were successfully conducted over the Bay of Bengal, off the Odisha Coast at Chandipur here. The trials were carried out during September 11 to 14, a DRDO source today said, adding that a total of seven trials were conducted against Pilotless Target Aircraft (PTA) successfully. Later, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has congratulated the DRDO, Iindian Air Force, Defence Public Sector Undertaking (DPSU) and industries for the successful trials of Astra Missile.
A Defence Ministry release said, “The missions included engagement of target at very long range, engagement of 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. Two missiles were also launched in the combat configuration with warhead and the targets were neutralised,” it said.
This effort for building a state-of-the-art BVRAAM by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), together with the Indian Air Force (IAF) has completed the development phase of the weapon system successfully, they said. The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has played a role in modifying the aircraft for weapon integration. More than 50 public and private industries have contributed in building the Astra weapon system. Programme Director S Venugopal led the launch operations and flight trials along with the teams from multiple organisations.
Chairman, DRDO and Secretary of the Department of Defence (R&D), Dr S Christopher, congratulated the ‘Team Astra’ (DRDO, IAF, DPSU & Industries) for developing and flight testing such a formidable class of weapon system. Director General, Missiles and Strategic Systems Dr G Satheesh Reddy, said the technologies developed under the programme will be the building blocks for development of more variants of Air-to-Air and Surface-to-Air Missiles.