Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Navy recently cleared plans to procure 248 Astra Mk1 beyond visual range air to air missile with a range of 110 km, making India among very few Elite Countries which have its long-range air to air missile capabilities after 50 pre-production Astra Mk1 ordered by IAF were successfully demonstrated in a combat situation with targets been destroyed at the different range and different altitudes by the Su-30MKI which will be first to get them followed by Mig-29UPG and LCA-Tejas Mk1A.

While DRDO officially has been tight-lipped about next-generation Astra, it’s more or less has been confirmed that Astra Mk2 will have longer range and will have a higher fuel capacity along with a new conventional motor which will be designed to match or be superior to American AIM-120D and Chinese PL-15 missile long range Air-to-Air missiles, which for the first time has been confirmed to that the range will be approx 160-180 km while the actual range of the missile will remain classified.

Astra Mk1 has demonstrated capabilities similar to the American AIM-120C5 AMRAAM in trials and has demonstrated similar max range too, Astra Mk2 will be built around capabilities of the AIM-120D aka C8 which is far superior to the C5 capabilities along with a range of 160-180 km. Astra Mk2 will come with improved High-Angle Off-Boresight, Improved Jammer resistance with Dual-Pulse motor for an increased sustained range which will also carry an expanded no-escape envelope for the missile.

While the timeline of the missile system has never been disclosed it can be safely assumed that the missile will be ready before SFDR (Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet) aka Astra Mk3 is ready for production in next decade or so. SFDR aka Astra Mk3 will have a range from 70-340 km in the power ‘ ON’ Mode which will come with Air-breathing ramjet propulsion technology, while Astra Mk2 will be based on conventional Dual-Pulse motor with thrust vectoring control.

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