According to unconfirmed reports trails of Astra MK-2 almost completed and Limited Series Production started. Integration of Astra MK-1 & MK-2 on Indian Navy MiG-29 K also started reports Next Generation Weapons Technology.

Going by the reports, the Astra MK-2 will come with conventional dual pulse rocket motor but with improved grain quality as it is a solid fuel powered missile. Secondly the missile will be longer as a result of which more quantity of fuel can be loaded which will result in improved burn time which will correspondingly increase its range. Now combine this with better quality solid propellant the missile should match or even exceed AIM-120D AMRAAM & PL-15. As per some reports in media DRDO is targeting for a range in between 160–180 km.

Astra MK-2 is an upgraded version of Astra MK-1. MK-2 has better Range than MK-1, MK-2 uses a dual pulse rocket motor and is slightly bigger than MK-1. MK-2 will have 160 Km range and uses an AESA seeker. A very capable BVR missile which India needs urgently.

Astra MK-2 is very similar to Astra MK-1 in design and aero dynamics. The only difference is Astra MK-2 is thicker and longer than Astra MK-1 reports defence analyst Raju.

Astra MK-2 shares many features from its predecessor Astra MK-1 such as aerodynamics, design, smokeless propulsion, Ku band AESA seeker, etc,. so its development process has been very fast as it is using the same successful tried and tested design of Astra MK-1.

Astra MK-2 may be commissioned or inducted into IAF service by end of 2023 or Q1 2024 max as every system from design, body, dual pulse rocket motor, actuators, various sensors, warhead, instruments and Ku band AESA seeker has been validated and tested. In fact the indigenous Ku band AESA seeker is used in its predecessor Astra MK-1 missile.

It will also come with improved high angle off boresight capability, improved ECCM system, will sport two way datalink (first for Indian missile) & an AESA radar (unconfirmed reports) head instead of Ku band seeker for Astra MK-1 which will improve the first kill probability by a significant margin.

India has already commissioned Astra MK-1 which is better than PL-12 used by Pakistan and China. Astra MK-1 range is 110 km and speed is Mach 4.5 compared to PL-15’s range of 100 km and speed Mach 4. Also PL-15 is 26 kg heavier than Astra MK-1.

PAF operates PL15-E with 145 KM range, Chinese Airforce PL15 has a range more than 200 Km.

Specifications of Astra MK-2

Range: 160+ km
Speed: Mach 4.5 (possibly as Astra MK-1’s speed is Mach 4.5)
Propulsion: Dual pulse rocket motor
Weight: 170–190 kg
Guidance System: Mid Course: Fibre Optic gyro base Inertial Navigation System with mid course updates through datalink
Terminal: Active Radar homing with Ku band AESA seeker
Detonation Mechanism: Optical proximity fuse

Recently a video was released which shows Astra MK-2 being launched from ejector launcher of Su-30MKI. Launching from ejector launcher is much more advanced method of launching than launching from rail launcher.