Achieving a new milestone, India today successfully test-fired two indigenously developed air-to-air missiles 'Astra' in quick succession from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur in Orissa.
The beyond visual range (BVR) missiles were test-fired from a ground launcher in the launch pad No. 2 of the ITR complex at about 9.45 am and 12.06 pm, defence sources said.
Describing both the trials as "successful", they said the data of the flight test was being thoroughly analysed.
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) scientists said Astra was a futuristic missile and it could intercept targets at supersonic speeds between mach 1.2 to 1.4 (mach one is equivalent to 1236 kmph.)
"The tests on the missile's navigation, control, air frame, propulsion and other sub-system have been validated," they said.
The complex missile system would undergo some more trials before being made fully operational, they said.
The single stage, solid fuel 'Astra' missile "is more advanced in its category than the contemporary BVR missiles and it is capable of engaging and destroying highly manoeuvrable supersonic aerial targets," defence sources said.
Though the exact range of today's trial was not disclosed, scientists are working to ensure that 'Astra' performs effectively at different altitudes - one, cruising at an altitude of 15 km with 90 to 110 km range, another at an altitude up to 30,000 ft having a range of 44 km and the third, at sea level with a range of 30 km.
Astra had earlier been test-fired from the ITR at the ground level several times, the sources added.