New Delhi: Indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas successfully test-fired an indigenously developed ASTRA beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missile off the coast of Goa this week.
According to defense ministry officials, the missile release was successfully carried out from the aircraft at an altitude of about 20,000 feet and all the objectives of the test were achieved with a perfect launch. The test launch was also monitored by the test director and scientists of the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) along with officials from the Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC) and Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DG-AQA).
The aircraft was also monitored by a chase Tejas twin-seater aircraft. Indigenously developed, ASTRA is a state-of-the-art BVR air-to-air missile to engage and destroy highly manoeuvring supersonic aerial targets.
It is jointly designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), Research Centre Imarat (RCI) and other laboratories of DRDO.
The indigenous Astra BVR firing from homegrown Tejas fighters is expected to boost the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India) program of the Narendra Modi government. Following the test, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh complimented all the agencies involved in the development and testing of the ASTRA missile from Tejas-LCA.
According to the defense ministry press note, Rajnath Singh said that the launch of the ASTRA missile would significantly enhance the combat prowess of Tejas and reduce the dependency on imported weapons.