India successfully test-fires Astra air-to-air missile

      India successfully test-fired the short-range air-to-air missile - ASTRA - from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur in Orissa's Balasore District on Wednesday afternoon. Astra is a high-end tactical missile and is envisaged to intercept enemy aircraft at supersonic speeds in head-on mode at a range of 80 km and in tail-chase mode at 20 km. 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 maneuverable supersonic aerial targets, Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) sources said. The 3.8 metre long missile, which has a diametre of 178 mm, can carry a warhead containing explosives weighing 15 kg and can be fitted to any fighter aircraft. DRDO sources said the weapon could intercept the target at supersonic speed (mach 1.2 to 1.4).

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