Air Marshal SBP Sinha (retd), who headed Rafale negotiations from Indian side said, recently made an interesting revelation while speaking to a Defence Journal that the upcoming improved version of the Astra Mark 2 missile is already in development and will have a head-on range of more than 110+ km and also will have ejector launch method which was not seen in Astra Mark 1 program.

Astra Mark 1 uses the rail launched method when launched from mother aircraft towards its target. In the ejector launch method, the weapons system is physically ejected away from the aircraft, ensuring that it is clear of the aerodynamic flow around the aircraft before motor ignition.

Rail launched method is most commonly used the method when air to air missile is fired towards its target but in many high g turns while performing excessive maneuvering there is a tendency for the missile to become jammed in the rail but the development of Ejector Launch capability for upcoming Astra Mark 2 most likely is to do with 5th generation AMCA fighter jet which will have Internal weapons bay and will use an Ejector Launch mechanism for launching air to air missile when in Stealth mode.

While DRDO is tight lipped about its Astra Mark 2 program it is expected to come with a dual pulse rocket motor with a software-defined Active radar seeker to achieve extended range.

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