India test-fires air-to-air missile

India today successfully tested an indigenously developed air-to-air missile with a range of up to 50 miles, a defence ministry official said.

India today successfully tested an indigenously developed air-to-air missile with a range of up to 50 miles, a defence ministry official said.

The missile, “Astra”, is being developed for the Indian air force and it can be fired from a fighter aircraft without being detected by radar, the official said.

The test was carried out from Chandipur range, nearly 168 miles from Bhubaneshwar, the capital of Orissa state.

India and longtime rival Pakistan regularly test-fire missiles, but normally only give each other notice for long-range launches. It was not immediately clear whether India informed neighbouring Pakistan, also a declared nuclear power, ahead of today’s test.

India’s homegrown missile arsenal already includes the short-range “Prithvi” (Earth) ballistic missile, the medium-range “Akash” (Sky), the long-range “Agni” (Fire), the anti-tank “Nag” (Cobra) and the supersonic Brahmos missile, developed jointly with Russia.

The “Aster” air-to-air missile was first tested three years ago, the Press Trust of India news agency said.

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