Indian Forces successfully tested Astra missile with the help of Sukhoi Su-30MKI combat aircraft. The missile was tested near the Bay of Bengal off the coast of Odisha. It is an indigenously designed Air to Air missile which can hit the targets surpassing the visual range barriers of all the weather conditions.

Astra is an all-weather beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile, indigenously developed by Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), India & HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited). It has a range of 70 km and is capable of engaging with different ranges of targets and at different altitudes. It can hit long-range as well as short-range targets at lower or higher altitude.

DRDO is a premier research and development organization of the Indian Armed Forces. With the development Astra, DRDO aims to replace the current Russian Air-to-Air missile which Indian Air Force currently uses on its fleet of frontline Su-30 fighters Jets. Apart from Astra, the defence ministry also plans to introduce Israeli designed I-Derby air-to-air missile to the power the fleet.

Currently, Astra is under development stage and is India’s first effort to develop a missile of this class. The DRDO reportedly planning to develop a new version of the Astra Missile. Currently, it can hit long-range as well as short-range targets at lower or higher altitude. After the completion of the process, it would have a range of 300 Kilometres as compared to the tested 70 km range.

As reported by the Defense Ministry, “a live target was engaged accurately by the Astra while the mission profile was executed in a textbook manner.”

 Here is a video by Hindustan Times, showing the successful launch of Astra from Sukhoi Su-30MKI combat aircraft.

 During the test, the missile was tracked using radars & electro-optical tracking sensors (ETOS). The tracking reports confirmed that the successful engagement of the missile with its target. These are some of the most amazing features of Astra Missile. 

  • The missile was test-launched at from Sukhoi-30 MKI off the coast of Odisha at the Bay of Bengal as a part of user trials by the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Monday
  • Astra is a long-range air-to-air missile. It is capable of engaging with different ranges of targets and at different altitudes.
  • Astra is capable of carrying a payload of 15-kg high-explosive with the help of its pre-fragmented warhead.
  • The Astra missile is a beyond visual range missile and it can hit the target air-to-air in any weather condition.
  • It is India’s first indigenous missile of this category, designed & developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)
  • The Astra missile works beyond visual range by hitting an air-to-air target as far as 70kms. It is capable of engaging different targets at different altitudes. After further development, it would be capable of even hitting a 300 km far target.

 “The live aerial target was engaged accurately demonstrating the capability of the first indigenous air-to-air missile,” an official statement said. 

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also congratulated the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Air Force for the successful test of Astra.

 Further, in a first, Rajnath Singh has become the first defence minister of India to have flown in an Air Combat Fighter Jet. Rajnath Singh described the experience as “exhilarating”.

In a conversation with media, Rajnath Singh said, “It was very smooth and comfortable. I was enjoying it. I want to congratulate HAL, DRDO and several agencies concerned. We have reached a level where we can export fighter planes across the world.”

Tejas is built light combat aircraft & yet another indigenously developed technology by DRDO.

Dressed in a G-Suit, Rajnath Singh, Union Defense Minister boarded the Tejas Aircraft on Thursday morning while Air Vice Marshal N Tiwari accompanied him on the flight.

This is a video by CNN News 18 on Defence Minister boarding the Tejas Flight.

Describing the sorties, DRDO chief Dr G Satheesh Reddy explained that defence minister was also Pilot for a while. He said, “The ‘Raksha Mantri’ controlled and flew the Tejas for some time during the flight.”

On being asked about the same, Rajnath Singh responded, “Koi problem nahi, jaise-jaise N Tiwari batate rahe, waise-waise mein karta raha (Which translates to; There was no problem . I just followed N Tiwari’s instructions).”

With his tweet, he thanked and congratulated DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation), IAF (Indian Air Force) & HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) for reaching a level where the country can export fighter jets.

As per an official statement from the Defence Ministry that cam on Wednesday, Defence Minister was to take a ‘sortie’ with the aim to boost the morale of officers who invested time and energy in the development of DRDO’s “indigenously-developed & designed Tejas Aircraft” as well as of the IAF pilots who are & will be flying these aircrafts.

After the Flight, Singh also attended an exhibition of products of the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) in Bengaluru.

Tejas is a multi-role fighter aircraft, a Light Combat Aircraft (LCA). Currently, its naval version is under development which was successfully tested in Goa, last Friday. The LCA concluded an “arrested landing”, achieving a major milestone in LCA’s naval version’s development.

The IAF has already inducted a batch of Tejas aircraft in its Combat Jet fleet. IAF had already placed an order of 40 Tejas aircraft with HAL. Last year, IAF issued the request for proposal to HAL for 83 83 Tejas aircraft at a cost of over Rs 50,000 crore.