Indian MiG, Su and Tejas fighters get Mach 4.5 Astra Mk1 BVR AAM

NEW DELHI ($1=77.59 Indian Rupees) — The Indian fighters will be equipped with the local Astra Mk1 all-weather beyond-visual-range [BVR] active radar homing air-to-air missile [AAM]. India’s defense ministry has already signed a contract with missile maker Bharat Dynamics, according to Air Recognition.

Indian MiG, Su and Tejas fighters get Mach 4.5 Astra Mk1 BVR AAM
Photo: Wikipedia

The Astra Mk1 is designed to be compatible with MiG-29UPG / MiG-29K, Su-30MKI, and Tejas Mk.1 fighters already in service with the Indian Navy or Air Force. However, the Astra Mk1 will also be compatible with the planned two other Indian Army fighter jets – LCA Mk.2 / MWF [single-engine fighter aircraft known as Tejas Mk.2] and AMCA [planned stealth, multi-role, air superiority fighter] and TEDBF [planned canard delta wing, twin-engine, carrier-based, multirole combat aircraft].

The Astra Mk1 is India’s first self-developed air-to-air missile. Its existence began in the current decade with mass production in 2017. The Indian Ministry of Defense has officially adopted the Astra Mk1 in 2019. The designer of the missile is the Defense Research and Development Organization [DRDO].

Astra Mk.1 is the first variant of this class, and there are four more, which are: Mk.2, Mk.3, IR, and VL-SRSAM. The Astra rocket has the following dimensions: mass 154 kg [340 lb], length 3.84 m [12.6 ft] and diameter 178 mm [7.0 in]. The warhead is high-explosive pre-fragmented, weighs approximately 15 kg, and is detonated by radio proximity fuze.

Indian MiG, Su and Tejas fighters get Mach 4.5 Astra Mk1 BVR AAM
Photo: Wikipedia

After being launched from the fighter’s launcher, the Astra Mk1 is powered by a solid-propellant rocket engine that burns the fuel/oxidizer mixture. The maximum operating range of the Astra Mk.1 is 110 km [68 mi], flying at an altitude of up to 20 km. The speed reached during the flight is about 4.5 Mach.

Astra Mk.1 has a guidance system built by integrating various capabilities, which include: a fiber-optic gyro based inertial navigation system with mid-course update via datalink and terminal active radar homing.

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