The extended range Astra Mark 2 would give India an edge over its adversaries and would add more lethality to its fighter jets in aerial combat, like the one which happened a day after the
airstrikes on February 26, 2019.
“The trial for the Astra Mark would be starting in the second half of this year and we are hoping to see the missile fully developed by 2022,” government officials told ANI.
The next-generation missile is expected to be operational by the next year-end, former Central Air Commander Air Marshal SBP Sinha (Retd) said.
The retired officer has been associated with the Astra missile programme for a long time now.
The Astra is a beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM), which flies over four times the speed of sound at Mach 4.5. Efforts are now on to integrate the over 100 km strike range missile on the indigenous fighter aircraft LCA Tejas.
The all-weather day and night capable Astra, which currently has a strike range of around 100-km, will eventually replace the expensive Russian, French and Israeli BVRAAMs that are currently imported to arm IAF fighters.
Indian Air Force
and Indian navy have already given orders for 288
Astra Mark-1 Missiles
which are already “proven” on the Russian-origin
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