Third successive test firing of Astra Beyond Visual Range Air to Air Missile was successfully carried out by Air Force and Defence Research and Development Organisation today. The missile hit the live aerial target near Odisha at a maximum range of approximately 90 km. already had reported in past that missile is all set to be inducted into IAF by end of this year and fresh bulk orders of 100+ will be placed soon. BEL is already manufacturing of 50 pre-production samples ordered by IAF. More than 50 private and public sector industries are involved in the development and production of different sub-systems of the missile, earlier small batch order was done to smoothen out production line and ensure quality issues are ironed out before it hits scale production.

Astra missile

Astra is an indigenous Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Astra missile with a range of over 110 km. The missile can fly towards its target at a speed of over Mach 4.5 per hour. It has a 15-kilogram high-explosive pre-fragmented warhead. 

The Astra missile has been developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation along with 50 other public and private organizations, involved at various stages of its development. Modifications of the Sukhoi-30 MKI jets to accommodate Astra missiles has been carried out by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

Alternative to Russian R-77

After Astra Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air missile hit targets out at 90 km we now have a robust option to the Russian R-77 Air-to-Air missile. Entire Su-30, Mig-29, and Mirage-2000, LCA-Tejas Mk1/Mk1A Fighter/Interceptors will be first to get Astra missile in near future. DRDO is also developing Astra Mk2 with an extended range of 120-150km and Astra 2 will range of 300km.

Harsh Vardhan Thakur who is retired Test pilot with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) already has called Astra Air-to-Air missile better than Russian R-77 and comparable to the AIM-120C5 AMRAAM beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile.

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