'Astra' missile to be integrated with IAF aircraft in 2009:Prahlada

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Hyderabad, Apr 2 (UNI) The much awaited 'Astra', a state-of-the-art Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM), would be integrated with the Indian Air Force's Mig-29, Su-30MKI and Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) in 2009, a distinguished 'missile' scientist said today.

Speaking to newspersons here, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Chief Controller of Research and Development, Dr Prahlada said the Astra, designed for a range of over 80 km in head-on mode and 20 km in tail-chase mode, would be integrated first with Mig 29 followed by SU-30 and LCA.

Stating the 'guidance tests' of the missile would be completed by 2010, Dr Prahlada said the Union Government funded the Rs 1000-crore national project to develop the Astra in June 2004, targetting delivery by 2009.

This indigenously-developed missile is estimated to cost Rs three to five crore and expected to be at the high-end of tactical missiles.

It would propel India into the exclusive club of countries to possess such missiles, he said.

UNI AP GM PAG RL RN1700

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