India on Sunday successfully flight-tested its first indigenously developed beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missile `Astra' from a SU-30MKI aircraft at a naval range in the western sector.
The test-firing by the Indian Air Force on Sunday met all the mission objectives and the separation, which was captured by high-speed cameras, was exactly as per the simulation, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said.
''Astra is India's first BVR air-to-air missile indigenously designed and developed by DRDO, possessing high single shot kill probability (SSKP) making it highly reliable. Astra is an all aspect, all weather missile with active radar terminal guidance, excellent ECCM features, smokeless propulsion and process improved effectiveness in multi-target scenario, making it a highly advanced, state-of the-art missile,'' DRDO said.
''Astra's successful launch from the SU-30 combat aircraft is a major step in missile aircraft integration,'' scientific advisor to defence minister, secretary in the department of defence R&D and director-general of DRDO, Avinash Chander said.
Today's successful air launch was preceded by extensive joint flight-testing by DRDO and the IAF, he said, adding that it would be followed by launch against actual target shortly.
''Many more trials are planned and will be conducted to clear the launch envelope. Weapon integration with 'Tejas' Light Combat Aircraft will also be done in the near future.''
''This is one of the proud moments for DRDO and the entire country,'' said Dr V G Sekaran, director general (MSS) who chaired the Flight Readiness Review Committee.
Dr K Tamilmani, director general (aeronautics) who has overlooked the entire flight safety in the programme said that quality of integration and performance is of high standards and there was no doubt in the success of the launch. He further added that this is the beginning of the phase for demonstration of launch over a wide air-launch envelope.
''The air launch of Astra was perfect in all respect and is a culmination of years of effort by a very dedicated and competent team of the Missile Complex, Hyderabad, CEMILAC and Indian Air Force. HAL carried out the modification in SU-30 along with IAF specialists, and many Indian industries have an important and enabling role in the production of reliable avionics, propulsion system, materials, airframe and software passing stringent airworthiness requirements for the missile,'' project director S Venugopal said.
The missiles had undergone rigorous testing on Su-30 in the captive mode for avionics integration and seeker evaluation in 2013. The project has thus reached the final stage of testing and evaluation, and the Mk-II variant with higher range capability is also planned to be tested by the end of 2014, DRDO stated.