India’s Astra missile flight test in September

August 29th, 2008 - 6:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Aug 29 (IANS) India will conduct the guided flight test of air-to-air missile Astra next month at Chandipur-on-sea in Orissa, a top defence official said Friday.”We have kept the launch window open for the flight test with the guidance systems of Astra from Sep 10-15. We will conduct the test on any one of the days when the weather is favourable,” defence scientist V.K. Saraswat told IANS here.

State-run Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) has already completed the control flights of Astra, designed for an 80-km range in head-on mode and 20 km-range in tail-chase mode.

The beyond visual range missile has been integrated with the carrier aircraft Sukhoi-30 MKI. Integration with other fighter jets (Mirage 2000 and MiG 29) will be taken up after the guided test to verify its accuracy in destroying manoeuvring targets.

“The results of various tests conducted in the development stages have been positive. The feedback has enabled us to prepare for the guided test and subsequent induction into the Indian Air Force (IAF),” Saraswat said at a defence conference on “Networking and network-centric operations”, organised by the Computer Society of India.

The Hyderabad-based Defence Research & Development Laboratory (DRDL) took nearly five years to develop the 150-kg tactical missile at an estimated cost of Rs.10 billion under the integrated guided missile development programme of the DRDO. Possessing such a futuristic weapon will propel India into an elite club of countries such as the US, Russia, France and Israel.

In the run-up to the control and guided tests, two experimental flight tests were conducted in March 2007 to study the ballistic performance and control of the missile at low altitudes and shorter ranges.

“The missile can be launched after receiving a signal from the far away target and it will seek and home in using a complex range of onboard manoeuvres based on radio frequency (RF),” Saraswat said.

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