Thursday, July 8, 2010

India's Astra tests fails

For the second consecutive day, air-to-air missile, Astra launched from the Integrated Test Range, Chandipur, Orissa, encountered a glitch after meeting the “basic objective” of the mission.

The test of the Beyond Visual Range missile was carried out on Wednesday at 2.05 p.m. as part of the developmental trials. The objective of the mission was to prove high manoeuvrability and lateral acceleration at a speed of around 2.4 Mach. The missile was also test-fired on Tuesday night.Astra is envisaged to engage and destroy fast moving aerial targets at supersonic speeds (1.2. to 1.4 Mach).

S.K. Chaudhuri, Chairman of Astra's Flight Readiness Review Committee and Associate Director, Research Centre Imarat (RCI), one of the premier laboratories of DRDO said, that the missile's manoeuvrability went off as expected as it reached an electronically- simulated target in 15 seconds at an altitude of 12 km. “It didn't function as per our expectation after that,” he added. He said the launch happened smoothly up to the target interception stage. The scientists wanted to give one more command to the missile after it intercepted the target. However, one channel didn't function. Similar problem occurred during the night trial on Tuesday following a smooth launch. The missile's new on-board computer, navigation system and other data links performed well.

The single stage, solid propelled missile is the smallest developed by DRDO. It can be launched at three different altitudes to cover ranges from 21 to 110 km. After some tests, it would be integrated with Sukhoi-30 initially and subsequently with MIG-29 and Light Combat Aircraft.

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