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Astra ground testing on September 11

Y.Mallikarjun

HYDERABAD: Beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile Astra will be tested at the Integrated Test Range, Chandipur-on-sea, off the Orissa coast, on September 11.

Scientists of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will conduct a ground-level flight test of the missile, which can intercept fast-moving targets at supersonic speeds (1.2 to 1.4 Mach).

This will be the first of four ground-level flight trials. The second is scheduled for September 13. The subsequent tests will be conducted in one-and-half to two months.

Astra Project Director S. Gollakota told The Hindu here on Monday that scientists would test the guidance, avionics and the functioning of the communication link between the mother aircraft and the missile. The communication link in Radio Frequency would be tested and validated.

The tests would be used to generate data relating to temperature, vibration, stress and strain levels experienced by the missile at different speeds and altitudes.

Second stage of tests

The four trials would be followed by captive flight tests early next year when the missile would be mated to the aircraft. Several manoeuvres at different speeds and altitudes would be conducted and the compatibility of electronics, avionics and other systems checked. After the captive flight tests, the missile would be integrated with the Sukhoi-30 and test-fired by the middle of next year.

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