IAF to induct Astra missiles by end-2023

In May 2022, the Defence Ministry signed a contract with BDL for the supply of Astra Mk-I missiles and associated equipment for the IAF and the Navy at a cost of ₹2,971 crore

Updated - October 02, 2023 09:11 pm IST

Published - October 02, 2023 08:13 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Astra, an indigenous Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air missile, being test-fired by Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) LSP-7, in Bengaluru. File

Astra, an indigenous Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air missile, being test-fired by Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) LSP-7, in Bengaluru. File | Photo Credit: PTI

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has placed two contracts with Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) for the indigenous Astra Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Air to Air Missile and the first batch is expected to be inducted by the end of 2023, according to defence sources. Development is underway on the more advanced and longer-range Astra-Mk2, a defence source said and static firing has been conducted.

BDL has already received Bulk Production Clearance for the manufacture of the Astra-MK1 missiles from the Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC), a defence source said adding that this financial year, IAF will complete proof firing and induction.

Also Read | Defence Ministry signs ₹2,971-crore deal for indigenous Astra Beyond Visual Range missiles

Astra is fully integrated on the SU-30MKI and in August it was successfully test-fired from the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas off the coast of Goa during which the missile was released from the aircraft at an altitude of about 20,000 ft.

The IAF plans to arm its frontline fighters with the Astra-MK1 and officials have said that the Astra-2 would become the mainstay of the IAF’s BVR missile arsenal, reducing import dependency.

In May 2022, the Defence Ministry signed a contract with BDL for the supply of Astra Mk-I missiles and associated equipment for the IAF and the Navy at a cost of ₹2,971 crore. As reported by The Hindu earlier, the IAF has expressed satisfaction with the Astra’s performance and officials have stated that they were looking for over 200 Mk-1 missiles initially.

Astra is a state-of-the-art BVR air-to-air missile with a range of over 100 km designed to engage and destroy highly manoeuvrable supersonic aerial targets. It is designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), Research Centre Imarat (RCI) and other DRDO laboratories.

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