India tests Astra missile successfully
India on Thursday conducted another test of its home grown air-to-air missile Astra, considered a new system in the guided missile development programme, from a military base in Orissa.
Astra, meaning weapon in Hindi, was fired from complex-II of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur in the coastal district of Balasore, 15 km from Balasore and 230 km from Bhubaneswar, at 11.33 am, military sources said.
The missile has a striking range of 25-40 km and its launch speed is estimated to be 0.6 to 2.2 mach. It was earlier tested from the same range March 25 and 26.
Developed by the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO), the missile has a length of 3,570 mm and a diameter of 178 mm. It is likely to be ready by 2011-12.
The latest tests are aimed at providing the Indian Air Force with a beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missile to equip the Mirage 2000, MiG-29, Su-30 MKI and the Light Combat Aircraft, informed sources said.
The local administration evacuated over 6,000 people in six villages, within 2.5 km from the ITR campus, to temporary shelters.