www.landforces.com.auFollowing the news that the Indian Ministry of Defence signed a contract with Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) to procure Astra Mk-1 Air to Air Missile (AAM), Tushar Mangure, defence analyst at GlobalData, a data and analytics company, offered his analysis.

“The Astra Mk-1 Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Air to Air Missile (AAM) is expected to complement the Russian R-77, R-27, and Israeli Derby BVR missile in service with the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian Navy (IN). The missile has already been integrated with the frontline Su-30 MKI and MiG-29K multirole combat aircraft of the IAF and IN, respectively. The integration with Tejas Light Combat Aircraft is in process and is anticipated to be completed within the next few years.

“The successful adoption of the Astra Mk-1 missile will also act as an impetus for the indigenous development of future variants of the missile powered by a dual-pulse solid rocket motor and the Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet (SFDR) engine. These upgraded variants of the missile are under development for the Tejas Mk-2, Twin-Engine Deck Based Fighter (TEDBF), and Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA).

“The decision for procurement of the indigenously developed missile is in line with the government’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) policy, which intends to reduce reliance on defence imports and focus on developing a robust domestic defense industry ecosystem to cater to the military’s requirements.

“The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has transferred the technology to BDL for the missile’s serial production. Being India’s first indigenous BVR air-to-air missile program, the Astra project has led to advances of India’s R&D, manufacturing and related testing facilities. The program will also provide opportunities for numerous micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the aerospace sector over the next decade.”

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