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Air-to-air missile will be
ready for trials in June

What is India News Service, Tuesday, 8 February 2005, 2000 hrs IST

The latest weapon in India;s missile programme, the air-to-air Astra, will be ready for trials from June this year, a senior Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) official said on Tuesday.

Sanctioned three months ago, Astra, to form part of the arsenal of the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Tejas, would have at least three launches this year and its peak development programme would be around 2006-07, DRDL (Hyderabad) Director Dr Prahlada told UNI in an interview here.

Dr Prahlada, who would be delivering a lecture on ''the Missle Roadmap of India'' at the Aero India 2005 international seminar here, said in all 50 launchers and user trials would be conducted before Astra could be readied for deployment. There was every possibility of the launches getting curtailed to around 35 or 40, if all the parameters were met early.

He said the pace of development of Astra would match the LCA Programme so that the weapon was ready to be fitted to the aircraft in the 2010-11 timeframe.

On the supersonic cruise missile Brahmos, taken up as a joint venture with Russia, Dr Prahlada, an outstanding scientist, said a few countries had shown interest in purchasing the missile. However, they were waiting for the Indian Navy to make the first buy and fit it in their vessel.

The missile had been exhibited in various Air Shows, including Malaysia, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, Russia and Chile. Heads of Defence Units of some countries had already made request for buying the missile. 

Rane asked to prove majority by March 4
: The Goa Governor, S.C. Jamir, has asked the Chief Minister, Pratapsinh Rane, who was sworn in on February 2, to seek a vote of confidence on the floor of the Assembly on or before March 4.

Court notice on unsolicited calls on cell phones: The Supreme Court today took note of the menace of unsolicited phone calls on mobile phones by issuing notice to the cellular companies and five private banks, among others.

Summons issued to senior Kanchi seer: The two Kanchi acharyas, arrested in connection with the Sankararaman murder case, will be served copies of the chargesheet on February ten.

Govindacharya holds BJP responsible for Babri demolition: BJP ideologue K N Govindacharya has accused the party leadership responsible for the demolition of Babri mosque in Ayodhya. 

Kalam fine after treatment for shoulder injury: President Abdul Kalam underwent a "non-invasive" procedure today at the Army Hospital Research and Referral Centre to set right his fractured shoulder. 

'Countdown to Rabri's ouster has begun': The river Mahananda is quiet. Barren patches along both sides of this river show some glimpses of green fields. After the Exit Polls predicted a patchy future ahead for Lalu Prasad Yadav's RJD, rivals are now making all-out efforts to ensure that the green (RJD's flag colour) should reflect the pattern on the ground, more barren than green.

AF sounds fighter makers: Chief of Air Staff S P Tyagi mooted a national aviation policy for a co-ordinated approach in development of aerospace technologies. 

"Venue is for cricket boards to decide'': The Government of India feels that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) should sort out the difference of opinion on playing a Test match in Ahmedabad.

Avalanche kills 9: Avalanche lashed parts of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh on Monday claiming nine lives as upper reaches of the two states and Uttaranchal received heavy snowfall while the northern plains experienced widespread showers dipping the mercury and throwing normal life out of gear.

Human trial of AIDS vaccine starts:  At 20 minutes past noon today, India set out on a hunt for a preventive AIDS vaccine by launching human clinical trial of an investigational vaccine. Three volunteers, including a woman, were administered an intra-muscular injection at a specially designed vaccine trial clinic at the National AIDS Research Institute in Pune.


Now posters in Kishanganj: After Bhagalpur, posters depicting post-Godhra riots in Gujarat have surfaced in Kishanganj constituency of Union Minister Mohammed Taslimuddin, prompting the district authorities to file an fir against the All-India Shia-Sunni United Front (AISSUF) and the firm which allegedly printed the posters. 

Shot, J-K\92s tsunami blood donor bleeds to death: Just last month, this 27-year-old car mechanic was stretched out on a bed, medics hovering nearby, donating his blood for tsunami victims. Today, Zahoor Ahmed Bhat was stretched out once again, in a local hospital.

No STF for anti-Naxal drive now:
Karnataka Chief Minister Dharam Singh agreed to the demand of the Citizens Initiative for Peace for a second post-mortem on the bodies of encounter victims. 

Doctors get rangdari demand: Extortionists have threatened two senior doctors of the state capital with dire consequences if they fail to pay Rs ten lakh each as rangdari (extortion) prompting the India Medical Association to petition the top police authorities seeking bodyguards for their colleagues. 

Patna lawyers strike work: Lawyers of the Patna High Court on Monday abstained from work to protest the alleged ruckus at the gates of the court by members of a minority community against the High Court directive on the use of loudspeakers in a mosque adjacent to the court premises during work hours. 



Batticaloa LTTE leader killed: A key eastern political wing leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), E. Kousalyan, was killed in an ambush this evening, along with five other LTTE cadres.

No uranium gas cylinders missing, says Pakistan
: Pakistan on Monday said the so-called international nuclear black market network in the country had been dismantled and neutralized.

Main rail link to Quetta blown up: Saboteurs blew up a portion of the railway track linking Quetta with the rest of the country late on Monday night.


Air-to-air missile ready for trials: India is likely to test its Astra missile in June. 

Avalanches killed nine: Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir were affected by avalanches.

Pakistan said uranium cylinders were safe:
It declared it had dismantled the so-called international nuclear black market.