New Astra missile will kill enemy aircrafts from a distance of 160 kilometers


Advanced version of Astra air-to-air missile (Astra Mk 2):  India’s top defence research organisation DRDO is working on an extended range of the indigenous beyond-visual-range (BVR) air-to-air missile Astra. The Astra Mk2 missile will enable Indian combat jets to strike enemy aircrafts at a range of 160 kilometers.

India is in the process of integrating the 110 kilometer range Astra Mk 1 missile on Indian Air Force’s MiG-29 and Light Combat Aircraft Tejas and the Indian Navy’s MiG-29K aircraft.

The Astra Mark 1 missile has already been mated with the Russian origin Sukhoi MKI jets. The Astra missile is being produced by state-owned defence giant Bharat Dynamics Limited.

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Astra will be the standard long-range air-to-air missile across India’s entire fighter fleet as it will be deployed on Sukhoi 30 MKI, Mig-29, Light Combat Aircraft Tejas.

Only French fighters such as Rafale and Mirage will not use Astra missiles.

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In July this year, the defence ministry formally sanctioned the purchase of 248 Astra missiles, including 48 for the Indian Navy, after a successful September 2019 trial in which it hit a target 90 km away.

Sources said Astra has export potential too, and will be considered for sale to friendly countries.

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Astra Mk 2 missile range

With a range of over 110 km and a maximum speed of Mach 4.5, the Astra Mk 1 is provides a definite advantage to Indian Air Force as it gears up to prepare a possible two front war scenario involving both China and Pakistan.

DRDO is planning to complete the development of the advanced version of Astra missile in the next 18 months.

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