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India conducts second consecutive Astra missile test

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BALASORE (PTI): India on Wednesday test-fired 'Astra', the indigenously developed beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missile at Chandipur near here, hours after carrying out the first night trial of the weapon.

The sophisticated missile was fired from a launcher at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) complex, about 15 kms from here, at about 2.07 pm IST, defence sources said.

The second consecutive trial comes after the missile was test-fired for the first time for night trial in inclement weather conditions on Tuesday night. The data generated were being thoroughly examined by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) scientists, the sources said.

The single stage, solid-fuelled 'Astra' is more advanced in its category than the contemporary BVR missiles and is capable of engaging and destroying highly manoeuvrable supersonic aerial targets, DRDO scientists said.

The 3.8-metre-long missile, which has a diameter of 178 mm, can carry a warhead containing explosives weighing 15 kgs and can be fitted to any fighter aircraft.

It is intended for eventual integration with the Indian Air Force’s Sukhoi-30 MKI, MiG-29, Mirage-2000, Jaguar and the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft, the sources said.

Describing 'Astra' as a futuristic missile, the scientists said the weapon could intercept targets at supersonic speed (mach 1.2 to 1.4).

The previous trials of Astra, conducted on January 11, 2010 from the same base, were successful.

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