India to Test 130 km Strike Range Astra Mark-2 Air-to-Air Missile for IAF

India to test Astra Mark-2 air-to-air missile with 120-130 km range, boosting IAF's combat capabilities. The indigenous missile development is a milestone in India's quest for self-reliance in defense manufacturing.

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Muhammad Jawad
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India to Test 130 km Strike Range Astra Mark-2 Air-to-Air Missile for IAF

India to Test 130 km Strike Range Astra Mark-2 Air-to-Air Missile for IAF

India is set to conduct the inaugural test of the Astra Mark-2 air-to-air missile, which has a strike range of 120-130 km, in the coming months. The Astra Mark-2 is part of the Astra family of missiles developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and is expected to significantly enhance the Indian Air Force's combat capabilities.

The Astra Mark-1 missiles, with a range of 90-100 km, are already integrated into the IAF's fleet, including the LCA Tejas and Su-30 MKI fighter jets. The development of an indigenous air-to-air missile system began in 2001 when DRDO initiated discussions with various parties involved, with the Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) in Hyderabad identified as the nodal lab for the project.

The Ministry of Defence has already signed a contract with Bharat Dynamics Limited for the supply of Astra Mark-1 beyond visual range air-to-air missiles to bolster the capabilities of the IAF and Navy. The DRDO is currently working on developing a special motor to extend the range of the Astra Mark-2 missile beyond the existing Astra Mark-1's range of up to 100 km.

Why this matters: The Astra Mark-2 holds potential as an export product, particularly for countries operating Russian-origin Sukhoi aircraft. It is expected to provide a strategic advantage to the IAF in air-to-air combat.

The DRDO is also developing the longer-range Astra Mark-3, which is comparable to the Meteor missiles used by the Rafale fighter jets. The upcoming test of the Astra Mark-2 represents a significant milestone in India's quest for self-reliance in defence manufacturing and its commitment to strengthening national security in the face of evolving regional dynamics and threats.

According to DRDO officials, the Astra Mark-2 missile will undergo a series of tests to validate its performance and capabilities before being integrated into the IAF's fighter fleet. The successful development and deployment of the Astra series of missiles will not only enhance India's air combat prowess but also reduce its dependence on foreign-made weapons systems.

Key Takeaways

  • India to test Astra Mark-2 air-to-air missile with 120-130 km range.
  • Astra Mark-1 (90-100 km range) already integrated into IAF's fighter jets.
  • Astra Mark-2 to provide strategic advantage in air-to-air combat for IAF.
  • DRDO developing longer-range Astra Mark-3 comparable to Meteor missiles.
  • Astra missiles to enhance India's air combat prowess and reduce foreign dependence.