What started as an offshoot of the Astra Mk1 program now has turned into a full-fledged program that will see an extensive redesign of the current Astra Mk1 while maintaining the same airframe and aerodynamics for the development of new air-to-air missile system that will feature an infrared and radio frequency seeker in a single missile casing.

Infra-red homing missile tentatively classified as Astra-IR by the local media started as a variant but now has turned into a full-fledged engineering program that will see new technology incorporated into the missile for the development of a medium-range air-to-air missile that can even be fielded on 5th gen platforms. has been told that the original idea was to only replace Ku Band AESA Seeker onboard Astra Mk1 and equip it with an Infra-red homing missile but as concept studies progressed it was decided that more next-gen technology needs to be developed for making it more deadly and accurate and to ensure that it’s also future ready.

Astra IR will feature both rail and ejection launch modes and will be fine-tuned for detecting aerial targets with reduced infrared and electromagnetic signatures that usually are associated with 5th gen aircraft. Astra IR will have a superior range than the existing close combat missile like ASRAAM and Python-5 due to which it will incorporate certain changes in aerodynamics and the incorporation of technology that can match fast maneuvering jets.

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