The Indian Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas recently completed a successful test firing of the indigenous ASTRA beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missile. The test launch demonstrates progress in India’s domestic combat aviation programs. Let’s Explore how Tejas Fighter Test-Fires Indigenous ASTRA Air-to-Air Missile but IAF still behind from PAF.
Test Launch Details
The ASTRA missile launch was carried out on August 23, 2023 off the coast of Goa by Tejas fighter LSP-7. The launch was executed at an altitude of around 20,000 feet and met all test objectives.
Monitoring and Assessment
The launch was monitored by teams from India’s Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC) and Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DG-AQA).
ASTRA Missile Overview
The indigenous ASTRA missile has been designed by India’s DRDO labs to engage maneuvering aerial targets at supersonic speeds beyond visual range. The successful test firing from the Tejas validates the aircraft’s integration with this advanced weapon.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh stated the launch would significantly increase the Tejas’ combat capabilities while reducing dependence on imported armaments. DRDO chief G. Satheesh Reddy also applauded the collaborative effort as a step toward self-reliance.
Tejas Fighter Program
The Tejas is a lightweight multirole fighter developed indigenously to replace aging MiG-21s. The successful ASTRA test underscores the aircraft’s growing operational maturity since entering IAF service in 2016.
Also Read this: Indian Air Force’s LCA Program Review Unveils Delays
Ongoing ASTRA Development
The ASTRA BVR missile is in early integration and production for India’s fighter fleet. Future planned versions aim to increase range, speed and seeker capability.
Key Milestone but still behind
India has witnessed remarkable strides in its indigenous combat aircraft and missile programs, which are contributing to the country’s pursuit of enhanced air power capabilities. The recent successful test serves as a testament to the continuous efforts and advancements being made in this domain.
The recent successful test of India’s indigenous combat aircraft and missile programs marks yet another milestone in the country’s pursuit of enhanced air power capabilities but Indian airforce is still behind the Pakistan Air Force in terms of professionalism and combat readiness.