In a big boost to offensive capabilities of Indian Armed Forces, the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force are set to get the indigenously developed lethal Astra MK-1 Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM).
The Ministry of Defence has signed a contract worth over Rs 2,900 crore with state-run Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) for supply of the Astra MK-1 missiles and associated equipment for the two services.
The ASTRA MK-1 missile has been indigenously designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The missile has been developed based on the staff requirements issued by the IAF catering for Beyond Visual Range as well as Close Combat Engagement. The weapon will reduce the dependency of Armed forces on foreign sources.
It should be noted that the Air to Air missile with BVR capability provides large stand off ranges to a fighter aircraft which can neutralise the adversary aircraft without exposing itself to adversary air defence measures, thereby gaining and sustaining superiority of the air space.
The Astra MK-1 missile is technologically and economically superior to many such imported missile systems, according to the Ministry of Defence.
The missile will be procured from the BDL under Buy (Indian-IDDM) category.
DRDO has developed the missile and all associated systems for its launch, ground handling and testing in coordination with the IAF.
“The missile, for which successful trials have already been undertaken by the IAF, is fully integrated on the Su 30 MK-I fighter aircraft and will be integrated with other fighter aircraft in a phased manner, including the Light Combat Aircraft (Tejas),” the ministry said.
Meanwhile, the Indian Navy will integrate the missile on the MiG 29K fighter aircraft.
“The Transfer of Technology from DRDO to BDL for production of ASTRA MK-I missile and all associated systems has been completed and production at BDL is in progress,” the ministry said.