August 22, 2013 idrw.org (SP’s Special Correspondent)
The indigenous Astra beyond visual-range air-to-air missile has been captive flight tested again on the Su-30MKI, following successful tests in April this year as earlier reported bySP’s. The IAF is watching keenly as the ambitious weapon system proves itself on the air dominance platform, and is hoping for a test firing from the Su-30MKI this year.
According to HAL, captive flight test for the Astra missile on the Su-30MKI aircraft was planned in three phases: Phase-1, to carry out aero-structural and mechanical integrity for carriage of Astra under steady and manoeuvering conditions, Phase-2 to carry out validation of weapon control system and its electrical and avionic interfaces with Astra missile and in Phase-3, to check the performance of missile system in transmitting and receiving mode of missile seeker with designated target under different flight conditions and the live firing of the Astra missile from the aircraft. As first reported by SP’s, while the base version Astra Mk.1 will have an intercept range of 44-km, it will be the Astra Mk.2 that will be a true force multiplier weapon, with an intercept range in excess of 100-km.