India has completed development of “Astra,” the country’s first Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Air-to-Air Missile (AAM), according to some reports.
State-run Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) was responsible for the development of the missile. Ground testing of the Astra began in December 2012 and the missile was cleared for captive flight trials on the Su-30MKI combat platform in April 2013. The first Astra missile was launched from the Su-30MKI in May 2014 and so far, 27 missiles have been test fired to ascertain and validate its performance.
The Astra is designed to carry 15 kg high explosive prefragmented warhead, which is activated by a Radio Proximity Fuse. The missile has good Electronic Counter-Countermeasure (ECCM) to enable unconstrained operation in an Electronic Countermeasure (ECM) environment. The Astra Mark 1, which successfully completed the trials recently, has a maximum head-on launch range of 100 km, a speed of 4.5 Mach and is cleared for launch up to an altitude of 20 km (66,000 ft).