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India to test 130 km strike range Astra Mark-2 missile this year

New Delhi: In a major capability boost for the Air Force's fighter fleet, India is planning to carry out the first test of the 120-130 km strike range Astra Mark 2 air-to-air missile in next few months.

The Astra Mark-1 air-to-air missile with strike range of around 90-100 kms is already in the Indian Air Force and is already integrated with the LCA Tejas and the Su-30 MKI fighter jets.

The work on developing the 120-130 km strike range Astra Mark-2 air-to-air missile is going on and we are looking to carry out the first test firing in the next few months, defence officials told ANI.

The Astra Mark 2 would give the Indian Air Force an edge over the adversaries in air-to-air combat and can also be offered as an export product to friendly foreign countries operating the Russian origin Sukhoi, they said.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation has been working towards developing the Astra Mark-1 and Astra Mark 2, along with a longer version, the Astra Mark-3, which would give it a capability similar to the Meteor missiles that have come to India along with the Rafael fighter jets.

The Pakistanis may have long-range Chinese PL-15 air-to-air missiles but there is no clarity about the claims made by them about its capabilities.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has already signed a contract with Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) for supplying Astra Mark-1 beyond visual range air-to-air missiles (BVRAAM) for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Navy. 

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