Astra carriage trials successfully in progress
While the Tejas team gets set to test the Derby BVRAAM as part of the FOC regime, a team in Pune is ticking off performance points on the indigenous Astra indigenous BVRAAM. The missile, integrated with a modified Su-30MKI, is currently undergoing carriage trials, the final phase of trials before a first ever testfiring from an airborne platform next year.
As reported earlier by SP’s, captive flight test for the Astra missile on the Su30MKI aircraft was planned in three phases: Phase-1, to carry out aero-structural and mechanical integrity for carriage of Astra under steady and manoeuvring conditions, Phase-2 to carry out validation of weapon control system and its electrical and avionic interfaces with Astra missile and in Phase3, to check the performance of missile system in transmitting and receiving mode of missile seeker with designated target under different flight conditions. While the Astra Mk.1 will have an intercept range of 44 km, it will be the Astra Mk.2 that will be a true force multiplier weapon, with an intercept range in excess of 100 km—work has already begun on expanding the performance of the baseline missile version. The Astra will ultimately be tested on the Tejas Mk.1 before it becomes the standard fit weapon on the Tejas Mk.2.