The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will equip Astra air-to-air missile system on Indian Air Force’s Sukhoi Su-30MKIs, Light Combat Aircraft TEJAS MK-1A and MiG-29 UPG. Astra is a beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missile system which has been indigenously designed and developed to take down enemy aircraft and drones.

About The Astra Missiles

The Astra missile is an air-to-air state of the art missile system developed by the DRDO. This missile is designed in a manner to engage and destroy aerial targets at various ranges and altitudes. The Astra missile has a range of up to 110 km and it can engage targets at altitudes of up to 20 km.

The missile is capable of engaging both agile and non-manoeuvring targets, making it highly versatile in air to air combat situation. It uses a solid-fuel rocket motor and an advance guidance system to achieve its exceptional performance. The missile’s guidance system includes inertial navigation, mid-course guidance and active radar homing for terminal guidance.

This allows the missile system to track and engage targets even in adverse weather conditions and electronic countermeasures environments. The Astra missile can be launched from many aircrafts including the Sukhoi Su-30MKI, Mirage-2000 and TEJAS. The missile is equipped with an onboard radio proximity fuse that enables it to detonate when close to target providing maximum impact and damage. The Astra was first time tested in 2003 and underwent several successful trials before being inducted.

This missile is crucial for India’s air defence capabilities providing the country indigenous and highly advance air-to-air defence capabilities. The  TEJAS on which these missiles will be equipped is an indigenous fighter aircraft developed by India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The aircraft was designed to replace the ageing MiG-21.

The TEJAS is a lightweight, single-engine multirole fighter aircraft which is capable of air superiority, ground attack and reconnaissance mission. Its maximum speed is of Mach 1.8 and a range of over 3000 km making it a highly versatile aircraft. The TEJAS is equipped with state of the art weapon system, advance radar, electronic warfare suite and a wide range of air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles .

The aircrafts cockpit is also designed as a pilot friendly cockpit with excellent situational awareness with modern glass cockpit and heads up display. The TEJAS has undergone several upgrades including new technologies and weapons system. It is at par with the modern aircrafts with latest technological features.

The TEJAS MK-1A features advanced weapons and avionics. It includes the Israeli Derby Beyond Visual range missile. The TEJAS is a significant achievement for India in the aerospace industry as it is the first aircraft to completely designed and manufactured in the country.