The missile was fired from the launch pad number two of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) run missile testing centre at around 13.30 hours to confirm its reconfigured propulsion, control and guidance systems.
The launch was carried out against an electronic target and it destroyed its target - a small pilotless Lakshya aircraft - which was launched from the same base just minutes before the firing of the missile.
The missile had already been test-fired from the Chandipur facility several times in the past. The test on 21 December 2012 was just development trial of the missile.
After completing all the developmental trials, Astra would be ultimately integrated with combat fighter aircraft Sukhoi-30, MIG-29 and the Light Combat Aircraft.
• Astra has the capability to intercept and destroy enemy aircraft at a supersonic speed and can be fitted into any fighter aircraft.
• 3.8 metre long, it is considered as one of the best of its kind in the world as it weighs about 160 kg and can carry explosive loaded conventional warheads up to 15 kg.
• It is designed to intercept and destroy enemy aircraft at supersonic speeds (1.2 to 1.4 Mach) in head-on and tail-chase modes.
• The missile uses solid propellant and can carry a conventional warhead weighing 15 kg.
• It can be launched from different altitudes and cover 110 km when fired from an altitude of 15 km, reach 44 km when launched from an altitude of eight km, and 21 km when launched from the sea-level.