Topic of the Day – Air to Air Missile

UPSC Exam Preparation: Topic of the Day – Air to Air Missile


  • It is active radar Beyond-Visual Range air-to-air indigenously developed (BVRAAM).
  • The all-weather, radar homing missile has high maneuverability and capability to engage and destroy aerial targets at supersonic speeds.
  • The 60-km plus range missile possesses Shot Kill Probability (SSKP) making it one of the most reliable in its class of weapon systems.
  • The missile could be launched at different altitudes from sea level to 20 km for engaging aerial targets at various ranges.
  • Astra is the smallest missile in terms of size and weight, developed by the DRDO.
  • Apart from integrating the missile with Su-30, it is planned to be mounted on other fighter aircraft including Tejas Light Combat Aircraft, Mirage-2000 and MIG-29.
  • As per a defence scientist, the missile is technologically more sophisticated than the nuclear capable Agni missile series of strategic ballistic missiles.
  • The missile complex at Hyderabad and several DRDO laboratories in partnership with the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and the Indian Air Force were involved in development of Astra.


Derby Air-to-Air Beyond Visual Range Missile

  • Tejas, the Light Combat Aircraft successfully demonstrated an Air-to-Air Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile firing capability by releasing Derby Air-to-Air BVR missile in RADAR guided mode.
  • The missile launch was performed in Lock ON after Launch mode for a BVR target in the look down mode and the target was destroyed.
  • Derby is developed by Israeli defence company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems to meet the combat needs of the armed forces.
  • The Derby AAM can be integrated onto a variety of fighter aircraft and Mirage and is capable of engaging aerial threats from short ranges and near-beyond visual range. Derby can also be configured as a surface-to-air missile (SAM).



  • The MBDA MICA is an anti-air multi-target, all weather, fire-and-forget short and medium-range missile system.
  • It is intended for use both by air platforms as individual missiles as well as ground units and ships, which can be equipped with the rapid fire MICA Vertical Launch System.
  • The Tiger Squadron of the Indian Air Force (IAF) has successfully fired the recently acquired BVR (Beyond Visual Range) air-to-air MICA missile on a target from an upgraded Mirage-2000 aircraft.
  • With this, the IAF has become one of the few air forces in the world with the capability of such missile. The operational success of this mission confirms a critical capability of Indian Air Force.
  • The MICA will be mounted on the 36 Rafale combat jets that India is purchasing from France.

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