The Astra-Mk-II is an upgraded version of its predecessor Astra Mk-1. This is a family of all weather beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile.
Faced with the growing challenge from China, the Indian Air Force is constantly looking to increase its power. Instead of relying entirely on foreign aviation weapons, New Delhi remains focused on developing its own lethal air-to-air missiles. In an Indian Air Force promotional video, an Astra Mk-II beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile was launched from a Su-30 MKI fighter jet. This comes just a few days after the Indian Air Force received the ‘Prachand’ Light Combat Helicopter.
The Astra-Mk-II is an upgraded version of its predecessor Astra Mk-1. This is a family of all weather beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation. The Mk-1 is capable of engaging targets at varying ranges from a distance of 500 m up to 110 km. The Mk-II has a longer range than its predecessor, with a range of up to 160 km. This will make a significant contribution to the IAF’s air dominance.
The Astra Mk2 missile could be a major addition to the Indian Air Force as it would tremendously enhance the combat capability of fighter jets. The missile has often been compared to the Chinese PL-15 and the AIM-120 AMRAAM of the US Air Force. With exceptional maneuverability and supersonic speeds, Astra missiles are designed to engage and destroy aerial targets. The sophisticated air combat capabilities of the missile enable it to engage multiple high-performance targets.
According to eurasiantimes, the Astra Mark-II missile could have an indigenous seeker and enhanced jammer resistance. To increase the missile’s range and performance, a dual-pulse rocket motor has been installed on it. The motor improves the kinematics during the kill phase of the missile. Large Stand-Off Ranges offered by air-to-air missiles with BVR capabilities enable fighter aircraft to eliminate enemy aircraft without being exposed to hostile air defense systems, thereby establishing and maintaining air space dominance.
The successful integration of the Astra missile marks an important milestone that greatly enhances the power of the Indian Air Force. And in the future it will soon be integrated with Dassault Mirage 2000, HAL Tejas and Mikoyan MiG-29. In addition, India is developing the Astra Mk-III, which has a range of more than 300 km.