DefenceHow Astra MK2 BVR is better than MK1 ? Trials of MK2...

How Astra MK2 BVR is better than MK1 ? Trials of MK2 to begin in 2022

Astra MK2 trial to begin

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to begin trials of indigenous Astra MK2 Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Air to Air missile with a range of 160 KM in second half of this year.

As per sources the trial for the Astra Mark 2 which was scheduled to begin in the second half of 2021 will now be pushed back to the second or third quarter of 2022. Although we cannot confirm the trials timing as there has been an unknown delayed noticed in the project.

The Astra MK2 is the successor of Astra MK1 BVR missile. Where the MK1 come with a maximum range 110 KM, Astra MK2 to have a maximum range of 160 KM.

Astra MK2

The major difference improvement in Astra MK2 over MK1 is its ability to neutralise target at much longer distance than its predecessor. MK2 is getting a extended range of 50 KM over MK1 thanks to its propulsion system – Dual Pulse Solid Rocket motor.

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Where solid fuel is a cheap and easy to mainten option for any BVR missile, it has one disadvantage. Once a solid motor ignites, it keep delivering a uniform thrust until the solid fuel completely burns out. Which means you will not be able to throttle the thrust of missile during its flight and the missile will keep delivering the uniform thrust even when you doesn’t required.

Once the fuel burns out, the momentum of the missile helps it to glides to its target at high speed, but in the longer the range the missile left out with lesser energy in the end game, resulting the adversary aircraft can easily ditch the missile attack by applying counter measures.

Astra MK2 tries to counter this problem with the use Dual Pulse Solid Rocket Motors. The first pulse of solid motor is going to help the missile to achieve its maximum speed. When the first solid motor burns out, the momentum of the missile will help the missile to cover its most of the distance by gliding in the air.

When the missile reach near to its target the second solid rocket motor will ignite, which means the missile is going to have ample thrust in its terminal phase to neutralise an aerial target at longer distance.

As the MK2 is going to use dual pulse motor, it will significantly improve the NEZ (No Escape Zone) over its predecessor.

Although the official design of Astra MK2 is not revealed but as per some photos available online we can see that there’s no visible difference between MK1 and MK2.

4 Sukhoi SU-30MKI of Indian Air Force is modified to carry out initial trials of Astra MK2. The development of the missile is scheduled to complete by 2022.

While developing Akash NG, LRSAM and Rudram missile DRDO has already mastered dual pulse solid rocket motor as all these missile is powered with dual pulse motor, so we can expect less delay in the project.

In mid course the missile is going to guide by Inertial Navigation System while in terminal phase it will be guided by Active Radar homing. It can travel at a maximum speed of 4.5 mach.

Aditya Raj
Aditya Raj
Writer & Co-founder of InfotOnline.

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