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Indian Tejas Fighter Jet Fires ASTRA Beyond-Visual-Range Missile for First Time

The Indian defense ministry has announced the first-ever test-firing of its indigenous ASTRA beyond-visual-range (BVR) missile from the Tejas light combat aircraft.

The event, which took place in western India, was monitored by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, and the Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification.

According to officials present at the drill, the air-to-air missile was released at an altitude of about 20,000 feet (6,096 meters).

All objectives of the test-firing were reportedly met, and officials described the trial as a “perfect textbook launch.”

Following the test, Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh lauded the DRDO and its partners for carrying out the first-of-its-kind launch.

He said the test would significantly enhance the combat prowess of the Tejas aircraft and reduce its dependency on imported weapons.

Developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, the Tejas is a single-engine multi-role fighter jet designed to operate in high-threat air environments. It can support air defense, maritime reconnaissance, and attack missions.

The ASTRA Missile

India’s ASTRA missile can engage and destroy highly maneuverable supersonic aerial targets.

Its beyond visual range reaches 100 kilometers (62 miles), and it flies at up to Mach 4.5.

The first trials of the weapon were conducted from the Sukhoi-30MKI fighter aircraft.

The Indian Air Force has 250 ASTRA-1 missiles under order from Bharat Dynamics.

The DRDO is also reportedly developing an ASTRA-2 missile with a 160-kilometer (99.4-mile) BVR range.

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