India's ASTRA: Beyond Visual Range (BVR) class of air-to-air missile
India is developing the Astra Mk-I missile. The missile is set to be integrated into the Su-30 MK-I fighter aircraft.
It will also be integrated into the MiG-29K fighter aircraft. The missile with a range of over 100 km is equipped with the latest navigation and midcourse guidance system including the RF seeker based terminal guidance which can hit the target with accuracy.
Astra is a Beyond Visual Range (BVR) class of air-to-air Missile (AAM) system designed to be mounted on fighter aircraft.
(Photo Courtesy: DRDO)
The ASTRA is designed to engage and destroy highly manoeuvring supersonic aircraft and has all-weather day and night capability.
The Indian government has reportedly placed an order worth Rs 2,971 crore for the manufacture of the indigenously built missile.
The missile has been developed by DRDO and manufactured by Hyderabad-based Bharat Dynamics Limited.
India's defence ministry said: "Based on the staff requirements issued by the Indian Air Force catering for beyond visual range as well as close combat engagement, reducing the dependency on foreign sources.”
Indian Navy is set to integrate Astra Mk-I missile
DRDO has already completed the technology transfer and the production has already begun, reports say. According to BDL, the missile can also be offered to friendly foreign countries.
The Indian Navy is set to integrate the missile into the MiG 29K fighter aircraft which forms part of the Vikramaditya aircraft carrier.
According to the DRDO, the missile is being developed in multiple variants to meet 'specific requirements'.
The Indian Air Force(IAF) had earlier conducted "live firing" of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from a Su30- MKI fighter aircraft.
The IAF said the missile hit a decommissioned Indian Navy ship. The exercise was undertaken in "close coordination" with the Indian Navy.
The air-launched missile is the heaviest and most powerful weapon in IAF's arsenal.
The government had moved to integrate the BrahMos jet into Sukhoi fighter jets in 2016 in order to enhance IAF's air capability. The IAF had inducted the first Sukhoi-30MKI fighter aircraft squadron at the Thanjavur airbase in Tamil Nadu.
BrahMos at Mach speed
According to BrahMos Aerospace, BrahMos is a two-stage missile with a solid propellant booster engine as its first stage which brings it to supersonic speed and then gets separated.
The liquid ramjet or the second stage then takes the missile closer to 3 Mach speed in cruise phase.
Missile fitted with stealth technology
The missile is fitted with stealth technology and guidance system with advanced embedded software which provides the missiles with special features.
The missile maintains supersonic speed all through the flight, leading to shorter flight time, consequently ensuring lower dispersion of targets, quicker engagement time and non interception by any known weapon system in the world.
222 Squadron, the Tigersharks
Earlier, the IAF had said that Sukhoi fighters were the second frontline fighter squadron to be based in south India.
The latest batch of Sukhoi jets are armed with the indigenous developed BrahMos cruise missiles.
IAF had earlier announced the resurrection of the 222 Squadron of Tigersharks with the Sukhois.
Indian Ocean Region (IOR)
The presence of the elite fighter jets in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) will give India the strategic edge with the central maritime spread, bordering three continents.
The Sukhoi fighters will be equipped with 2.5 ton air-launched BrahMos missile with a target range of over 300 kms giving the Indian Air Force formidable firepower.