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ASTRA Missile

The recent successful testing of the ASTRA missile from the LCA Tejas aircraft off the Goa coast marks a significant achievement in India’s indigenous defence capabilities.

This topic of “ASTRA Missile” is important from the perspective of the UPSC IAS Examination, which falls under General Studies Portion.

News: ASTRA Missile Test Elevates India’s Defence Potential

The recent testing of the ASTRA missile from the LCA Tejas aircraft serves as a testament to India’s progress in developing advanced air-to-air missile systems.

ASTRA Missile: A Game-Changing Innovation

Defining the ASTRA Missile

The ASTRA missile stands as an indigenous Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air missile, designed to target and eliminate highly maneuvering supersonic aerial threats.

Unveiling its Significance

The missile’s successful development represents a landmark achievement, as it becomes the first indigenously developed air-to-air missile for the Indian armed forces.

Driving Forces Behind ASTRA

Innovators and Developers

The ASTRA missile owes its existence to the collaborative efforts of various Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) laboratories, including the Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) and the Research Centre Imarat (RCI), along with other contributing units.

Project Astra: Laying the Foundation

The inception of Project Astra in the early 2000s was marked by a mission to develop indigenous Beyond Visual Range Missiles (BVM) and Air-to-Air Missiles. From its inception, the project embraced a scope for continuous enhancement and improvement.

Exploring ASTRA’s Features and Capabilities

ASTRA-Mark-1: An Achievement in Precision

Developed in 2017, the ASTRA-Mark-1 missile boasts a range of 110 km and has been successfully tested on numerous occasions. Its speed, reaching Mach 4.5 (over 5,500 kmph), demonstrates its swift and formidable nature.

The Future with ASTRA-2

Building on the success of the ASTRA-Mark-1, DRDO is currently developing the ASTRA-2, set to possess an extended range of 150-160 km. This advancement is poised to enhance India’s air defence capabilities even further.

Integration with LCA Tejas: A Synergistic Partnership

The Unique Tejas Aircraft

The LCA Tejas aircraft, equipped with a distinctive aerodynamically unstable tailless compound delta-wing configuration, is optimized for superior maneuverability and agility.

A Multifaceted Role

Designed as a multi-role aircraft for air superiority and air defence roles, the Tejas aircraft showcases advanced features that underscore its versatility.

Precision with Fly-by-Wire

The Tejas aircraft employs a sophisticated fly-by-wire system, replacing manual flight control with an electronic interface. This system ensures automatic stabilization when required, enhancing aircraft control.

Advancements in Material and Cockpit Design

The Tejas aircraft’s airframe is crafted from 45% Carbon Fiber Composite (CFC) materials. This composition enhances reliability and reduces susceptibility to structural cracks. The cockpit’s transformation from round-dialled electro-mechanical instruments to Multi-Functional Displays (MFDs) and a Heads-Up Display (HUD) streamlines operations and navigation.

Weaponry and Capabilities

The Tejas aircraft stands as a host for a diverse range of weaponry, including air-to-air, air-to-surface, precision-guided, and standoff munitions. It possesses an exceptional navigation and attack system, offering true multi/swing role capabilities.

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