Dr. S Venugopal, Project Director for the Astra Program speaking to Dr. Anantha Krishnan Tarmak Media House has confirmed trials of the Astra Mk2 that will have a range of 160km will be tested in 2022 this is the first official confirmation coming from the DRDO. Venugopal also confirmed that Astra Mk1 integration into LCA-Tejas Mk1 is nearly completed and trials can happen any time in the coming weeks.

Astra Mk2 will be comparable in range to the American AIM-120D, the latest variant coming out of the AMRAAM family that has been reported to have a range of 161km. Astra Mk2 uses a double-pulse solid rocket motor to improve its range. Astra Mk2 will weigh around 175kgs that is little more than the AIM-120D that weighs only 161kgs but a lot lesser than Chinese PL-15E that is around 200kgs and has a range of 145km.

Astra Mk2 when inducted will be India’s Second longest Beyond Visual range air to air missile after Meteor air to air missiles that are available on the Rafale fleet. India is also working on Astra Mk3 that will be based on the ramjet engine propulsion that will have a range varying from 70km to 340km and it is expected to enter the developmental trials phase from 2024 onwards.

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