Indian Air force to get two new missiles, 160 km range of Astra Mk-2 and 450 km range of Brahmos-A

Astra Mk-II long-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) being launched from a Su-30 MKI fighter is seen in a promotional film released by the Indian Air Force also IAF going to arm more Su-30MKI will be equipped with an extended range of 450km Brahmos missile.

Astra Mk-II beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) being launched from a Su-30 MKI fighter is seen in a promotional film released by the Indian Air Force (IAF) in advance of the 90th Air Force Day on October 8.

The missile, the second in the series of Astra BVRAAMs, was launched in this video for the first time.
The 160-km range Astra Mk-II was scheduled to be tested in May 2022, according to a story from earlier this year. At the time, there was, however, no formal confirmation.

The missile was also reportedly being prepped for testing from a ground launcher at the integrated test range in Balasore, Odisha, according to a report dated February 2021.

Carriage trials of the Astra missile onboard Tejas fighter are in progress with satisfactory results. The missile will “definitely” be fired from Tejas in 2022 said by HAL official.

Astra-Mk II

The Astra-II missile is said to have a range of 160 km. Not much is known about the technical characteristics of the missile. But Astra IR (80 km range) Astra-1 and Astra-II, and the future Astra-III missile have a common ejector launcher ‘Astra launcher’, which was also tested along with Astra-II missile as per the images released by the IAF.

Astra Mk.2 uses Dual-thrust pulsed rocket motor to travel. It has a range of 160km and flight ceiling of 20km.

According to informed, the Astra Mark-II missile could have an indigenous seeker and enhanced jammer resistance. To increase the missile’s range and performance, a dual-pulse rocket motor has been installed on it. The motor improves the kinematics during the kill phase of the missile.

The IAF is going to arm more Sukhoi-30MKI jets with the precision-strike BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, whose range has been extended from 290 to 450-km, even as a blueprint is also being drawn to indigenously upgrade all the 260 such Russian-origin fighters in the combat fleet.

Impressed with the first test of 450-km BrahMos from a Sukhoi-30MKI jet in the Bay of Bengal in May, IAF plans to send another 20-25 jets for the structural, electrical, mechanical and software modifications required to carry the 2.5-tonne missile to defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL).

“These Sukhois will be in addition to the original 40 jets earmarked for BrahMos missiles. Thirty-five of the first 40 Sukhois with the 290-km BrahMos have been delivered back to IAF by HAL,” a source said.

IAF considers the combination of Sukhois, which have a combat radius of almost 1,500-km without mid-air refueling, and the 450-km range conventional (non-nuclear) BrahMos missiles to be a deadly weapons package with strategic reach.

These air-to-ground BrahMos missiles can carry out pinpoint strikes on high-value military targets, underground nuclear bunkers, command-and-control centres on land or aircraft carriers and other warships on the high seas.

With the Army, Navy and IAF inking contracts worth around Rs 38,000 crore over the years for BrahMos missiles, which fly almost three times the speed of sound at Mach 2.8, a 800-km missile variant is also in the works

The Vice Chief of IAF made it clear that we have the capability to integrate sensors, and weapons into Su-30 MKI without RUSSIA’s help. HAL has required software, hardware, and other tools to do so. ASTRA and BRAHMOS have been integrated all indigenously without anybody’s help.

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