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Astra missile to be inducted into IAF by next year

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Photo: Youtube

New Delhi: With the indigenous beyond visual range air-to-air missile Astra set to be fired in public view for the first time, the Indian Air Force (IAF) expects to induct the high-tech weapon into its inventory next year.

The missile, which took more than a decade to develop, is undergoing trials which are likely to finish by the year end, an official from the IAF told IANS on condition of anonymity.

Astra will be on display at the IAF’s firepower demonstration Iron Fist in Pokhran, Rajasthan, on March 18, where a Sukhoi-30 MKI jet will fire the missile. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to witness the firepower demonstration.

According to scientists, the technology for this missile is more sophisticated than that of ballistic missile Agni, as it works on a terminal active radar-seeker and an updated mid-course internal guidance system that helps the missile in locating the target.

The seeker, said the official, was one reason why the missile, being developed by the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), was delayed for so long.

“The trials are going on well and the missile has given a great performance,” the official said.

The missile can be fired from beyond visual range, honing in and locking on to the target with the help of the seeker. With high-energy propellant, it has the capability to follow it, despite complicated manoeuvres.

“The missile has given high performance, even intercepting a target which was making high-G manoeuvres in more than one trial,” the official said, adding this showed its enhanced capability.

The tests ahead include full configuration firing at actual manoeuvring targets that will mimic enemy fighters. The missile also has the critical ability to overcome jamming by hostile aircraft.

The Astra is a single-stage solid-propellant missile that is 3.57 m long and 178 mm in diameter, with a 154 kg launch weight and a 15 kg conventional explosive payload.

It has active radar terminal guidance, anti-electronic countermeasures features and smokeless propulsion.

The missile has been designed to engage high-speed targets at short range, up to 20 km in tail chase mode and long range, up to 80 km in head-on chase mode, according to the DRDO.

At sea level, it has a range of up to 20 km but has a range of 44 km if launched from an altitude of 8,000 meters and 80 km when fired from an altitude of 15,000 meters.

Except for failure in one test, the missile has completed all tests successfully. (IANS)

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7 killed, after Mi-17 V5 an IAF Chopper Crashed in Arunachal

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IAF chopper Mi-17 v5
IAF chopper Mi-17 V5, at Yelhanka, Air Force Station. Wikimedia

Tawang, October 6:  Seven Indian Air Force personnel were killed after a Mi-17 V5, IAF Chopper Crashed in Arunachal Pradesh on Friday.

Tawang district Superintendent of Police Manoj Kumar Meena said the IAF Chopper Crashed around 6.30 a.m. killing all the seven people on board.

The chopper was on a routine Air Maintenance Mission, Meena quoted a Defence officer as saying.

The crash site is located at some four-to-five hours drive from Tawang. “It is a forested area,” Meena said adding that the bodies are being brought to the helipad near Tawang.

“We are told that there were no civilians and all were defence personnel,” he said.

Earlier in July an Indian Air Force chopper engaged in a flood rescue mission crashed near Papum Pare district in the hill state killing four persons including three IAF crew and one India Reserve Battalion (IRB) personnel.

The frequently changing weather condition in Arunachal Pradesh makes flying of choppers difficult in the area and there have been several incidents of crashes in the hill state in the past.

The then Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Dorjee Khandu, and four others also died in an IAF Chopper Crashed in the hill state in 2011. (IANS)

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India has ‘Plan B’, ready for any challenge from China, says Indian Air Force Chief B S Dhanoa

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ACM Dhanoa
Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa.

New Delhi, Oct 5: Indian Air Force Chief, Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa on Thursday said India is prepared to counter any threat from China and was also ready to face a two-front war.

Addressing the annual press conference of the IAF ahead of Air Force Day, the Indian Air Force Chief said they have a ‘Plan B’ to cater for the shortage of strength if there is a situation of war on two fronts.

“We need a strength of 42 squadrons to carry out full spectrum operations, but it doesn’t mean we can’t fight a two-front scenario. There is a Plan B,” he said when asked about being prepared for a two-front war.

He also said the possibility of a two-front war in the current geopolitical scenario is low.

He said “our capability is adequate” to counter any threat from the Eastern side — China.

The Indian Air Force Chief also said more than assets, the question was what China can and cannot do operating from Tibet against India.

He also said that Chinese troops are still stationed in the Chumbi valley, of which Doklam is a part, and hoped that they return soon.

Dhanoa said: “We are not in physical face-off but in Chumbi valley their troops are still deployed.”

“Hope they will withdraw in future after their exercises are over,” the IAF chief said.

He also said that there was no face-off in the air during the over 70 days long standoff and there were no air violations.

“I take this opportunity to assure the nation of our sacred resolve in defending the sovereignty of our skies,” he added.(IANS)

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IAF trainer aircraft crashes in Telangana

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HAL Intermediate jet trainer
IAF kiran. wikimedia

New Delhi, Sep 28: IAF’s intermediate trainer aircraft- Kiran, crashed in Telangana on Thursday morning, but the pilot and another person on board ejected out safely.

The aircraft got airborne from Hakimpet Air Force base on Thursday morning for a routine training sortie and crashed around 11.45 a.m.

The aircraft was being flown by a trainee pilot.

IAF sources added that a Court of Inquiry has been ordered to look into the cause of the accident.

According to police, the aircraft caught fire and was gutted after the crash near Ankireddypalli village in Keesara ‘mandal’ (block) of Medchal district.

Minutes after taking off from Hakimpet Air Force Station, the aircraft developed some technical snag and crashed in the fields.

Eye-witnesses said they heard a huge thud and soon flames engulfed the aircraft.

The pilot and another person accompanying him ejected out with parachutes before the crash, police said.(IANS)