The sophisticated missile was test-fired from a launcher in launch pad-2 of the ITR at about 01.25 PM targeting a flying object being supported by a pilotless target air-craft ‘Lakshya’, defence sources said.
The single stage, solid fuelled Astra missile is more advanced in its category than the contemporary BVR missiles and is capable of engaging and destroying highly manoeuvrable supersonic aerial targets. The 3.8 metre long missile, having a diameter of 178 mm with an overall launch weight of 160 kg, can carry a warhead containing conventional explosives weighing 15 kg. It can be fitted to any fighter aircraft.
Astra is intended to be eventually integrated with Sukhoi-30 MKI, MiG-29, Mirage-2000, Jaguar and the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force, the sources said. Describing Astra as a futuristic missile, DRDO scientists said the weapon could intercept the target at supersonic speed.