The Defence Ministry has signed a contract with the defence public sector undertaking Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) for the supply of the indigenously developed Astra Mk-I Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air to air missiles and associated equipment for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Navy at a cost of Rs 2,971 Crore.
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.
About the Astra Mk-I:
- Astra has a range of over 100 km with modern guidance and navigation techniques and has midcourse guidance and RF seeker based terminal guidance to achieve target destruction with pinpoint accuracy, as the DRDO had stated earlier.
- Air to Air missile with BVR capability provides large standoff ranges to fighter aircraft which can neutralise the adversary aircraft without exposing themselves to adversary air defence measures, thereby gaining and sustaining superiority of the air space.
- A longer range and more sophisticated Astra-Mk2 is under development by DRDO and once it is inducted will free up the dependency on imports in the BVR segment.