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Astra missile likely to be test fired

Astra, the Beyond-Visual-Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM), is likely to flight tested from the Integrated Test Range (ITR).

While two days are slated July 6 and July 7, sources said most likely the flight testing of the missile would be carried on July 7 (Wednesday) and a team from production unit has reportedly reached this place.

On the last occasion on January 11 this year two trials of the missile were conducted successfully.

The sophisticated missile is envisaged to intercept and destroy enemy aircraft at supersonic speeds in the head-on mode at a range of 80 km and in tail-chase mode at 20 km.

The missile is intended for the Indian Air Force's Sukhoi Su-30MKI, Mirage 2000H, Mirage 2000, MiG-29, MiG-21 Bison and Tejas combat jets, as also the Indian Navy's Sea Harrier jump jets.

Astra, which uses solid propellant, can carry a conventional warhead of 15 kg.

It is the smallest of the missiles developed by the DRDO in terms of size and weight.

It is 3.8-metre long and has a diameter of 178 mm with an overall launch weight of 160 kg.

The missile could be launched from different altitudes - it can cover 110 km when launched from an altitude of 15 km, 44 km when fired from an altitude of eight km and 21 km when the altitude is sea-level .

Besides, plans were afoot to test-fire its indigenously designed and developed Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile from the ITR in the last week of this month when India eyes to develop a full fledged multi-layer Ballistic Missile Defence system, and accordingly preparations for the trial were underway.

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