After the Akash surface-to-air missile, Astra air-to-air missile has been developed fully indigenously. The missile will cost India very less as compared to existing stock and is custom made to the Air force’s requirements.
Astra being fired from Sukhoi jet xaam
It is an all weather missile and allows IAF jets to hit aerial targets up to 60 km away.
The missile is equipped with active radar terminal guidance, electronic counter-countermeasures and smokeless propulsion.
Astra has been designed to engage high-speed targets at short range, up to 20 km in tail chase mode and long range, up to 80 km in head-on chase mode, according to the DRDO.
The seeker helps in firing the missile from beyond visual range, honing in and locking on to the target. With high-energy propellant, it has the capability to follow it, despite complicated manoeuvres.
At the moment, Indian fighter jets are equipped with Russian, French and Israeli BVR missiles, which are pricey.
DRDO is also developing a more powerful BVRAAM Astra Mk 2 with a range of 100 km.