India’s first air‐to‐air ‘Astra’ missile is finally back on track after an excruciatingly long delay due to technical glitches. The beyond visual range (BVR) missile, with an eventual strike range of over 100km, will be fired for the first time from a Sukhoi‐30MKI fighter this year. The need for a cheap, indigenous air‐to‐air missile cannot be over‐emphasized. Modern day air combat is increasingly becoming all about BVR combat, rather than the dogfights of yore, with missiles with ranges of over 40km becoming the norm. But BVR missiles are quite complex since they have to destroy highly‐agile supersonic fighters packed with “counter‐measures” at long ranges. Only a handful of countries like the US, Russia, France and Israel have managed to develop them.
Source: Times of India