BHUBANESWAR: Indian Air Force (IAF) successfully test fired a Russian air-to-air missile on June 19.
The missile fired from frontline combat aircraft Sukhoi-30 MKI destroyed a target drone off Odisha coast.
Defence sources said the short-range air-to-air missile was fired from the fighter aircraft as part of a user trial. The exercise was aimed at gauging the killing efficiency of the weapon system.
The aircraft that took off from Kalaikunda air base in West Bengal fired the beyond visual range air-to-air missile after taking several sorties.
The missile successfully intercepted the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) Banshee over Bay of Bengal.
The British drone was flown from the Integrated Test Range (ITR).
While the whole exercise was carried out by IAF personnel, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) provided all logistic supports.
“Two fighter aircraft were engaged in the exercise. One was used as attacker and the other as chaser. After the attacker fired the missile, the chaser tracked its movement and firing precision. The entire exercise was conducted in a real-time scenario,” said an official.
The Russian missile has been procured by India for IAF in order to develop a multi-layered aerial shield for cities against strikes by manned or unmanned air vehicles flying at low and medium altitudes.
Sources said the missile has the capability to efficiently engage targets at both low and medium altitudes in less than 10 seconds.
The missiles used for the test were selected randomly from the lot. “Several more rounds of tests of the missile using a combination of aircraft including MiG and Mirage have also been planned in next two days,” the official informed.
The mission is crucial for the IAF as several cities and vital installations in the country are vulnerable to aerial strikes.
Supplemented by indigenously developed Astra air-to-air missile, the Russian missiles can enhance aerial security.
This apart, duration of stability on air and endurance of Banshee was also tested during the exercise.
Fitted with integrated GPS, autonomous waypoint navigation and digital telemetry systems, the UAV is suitable for use on land and at sea.