It is reported that DRDO self-made medium-range air-to-air missile “Astra” has now completed all the development work, and plans to integrate it on the MiG-29UPG , Su-30MKI and Tejas fighter jets equipped by its own air force in the future. The airspace deterrence of the Air Force.
According to reports, the Indian Air Force technicians have obtained the fire control radar source code for the Su-30MKI and MiG-29UPG fighter jets, and installed a mission computer developed by Hindustan Airlines (HAL), which can launch DRDO homemade “ASTRA” air-to-air missiles, and its first batch of 50 “Astana” MK1 air-to-air missiles have also been delivered to the Su-30MKI Fighter Wing, and the subsequent second batch of 100 “Astra” MK1 It is also about to be delivered to the MiG-29UPG Fighter Wing. The original plan was that the Indian Air Force should only start to equip the “Astana” air-to-air missiles after 2021. Perhaps due to the situation and pressure, the pace of the replacement has been accelerated.
The Indian Air Force’s Su-30MKI fighter “Asterna” is India’s first self-made air-to-air missile. It was developed by the Indian Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO). It was completely developed independently. It has also been tested 27 times, during which a lot of things has been improved.
As we all know, the Indian Air Force has many types of fighters in active service, and the systems are also very complicated, including Su-30MKI and MiG-29UPG from Russia, Mirage 2000 and Rafale from France, Jaguar from Britain, and home made LCA integrating equipment and technologies from various countries. Fighters and so on. These fighters are composed of different systems, making the logistics quite complicated. If the incoming “Meteor” air-to-air missiles and the homemade “Astra” are counted, the Indian Air Force has a medium and long range. Air-to-air missiles include the legal system “Meteor” and “Mika”, Russian-made “R-77”, R-27RE/TE, Israeli-made “Monster-4” and “Derby”, as well as homemade “Asterner”. “In addition, the purchased Rafale fighter jets can also launch American-made AIM-120C/D. It does not rule out the possibility that India may purchase such missiles.
It is so complete that almost all the mainstream medium and long-range air-to-air missile systems in the world are included in the bag. Perhaps only India is the only one. To say that envy is definitely enviable. After all, these missiles symbolize the mainstream attack methods in the field of modern air combat. However, India is not very satisfied with these advanced air-to-air missiles. At present, India plans to modify every fighter jet in active service so that it can launch its homemade “Astra”. However, if you want to integrate new systems, the most important thing is The original manufacturer of the fighter aircraft is required to provide the source code. Russia has given the fire control radar source code of the Su-30MKI and MiG-29UPG to India, but so far, France has not provided the source code of the Mirage 2000 and Rafale radar.
India’s self-made “Astana” air-to-air missile was developed around 2005. In 2018, the test successfully began small-scale production and final verification. To be honest, the shape of this type of air-to-air missile is quite beautiful, after all, it is designed by the DRDO. For the appearance, the radar seeker and engine are improve variant of the Russian-made R-77 air-to-air missile. Therefore, the effective range is better than that of R-77, and the maximum range is about 80 kilometers.the performance is better than R-77 also its quite smaller than R-77, So it should be no problem to replace R-77 with “Astra”.
Interesting stats about the Astra BVR AAM.
- Due to its smokeless engine it’s extremely tough to visually confirm the missiles trajectory.
- With the help of Active seeker the missile can be used in buddy mode too, which means a Su 30 MKI can launch the Astra from long range and an nearby friendly aircraft can update the missile to the correct path thanks to its mid-course update.
- Astra is a fire and forget missile which allows the aircraft to launch the missile from an decent distance from an enemy aircraft and fly back from the hostile zone.
- Another important feature is the impressive G power the missile can sustain; the missile can sustain 40G’s whereas manned fighters can maneuver only 9G’s.
- Astra has an impressive flight altitude of around 20 kilometers. (60,000+ feet)
- Astra is capable of achieving nearly 4.0 mach. Most of the Fighter jets can pull up to 2.5 mach only. The missile can be effective in tail chase mode.
- Astra is equipped with ECCM suites to outperform aircraft’s countermeasure and radio interference.