IAF Plans To Induct Indigenous ‘Astra’ Missiles In Light Combat Aircrafts As DRDO Completes Trials Beyond visual range air-to-air missile “Astra” (Defence Ministry/Twitter)

The Indian Air Force (IAF) wants the indigenous Astra missiles as its standard long-range weapon for its Light Combat Aircraft (LCA). This will promote integration of indigenous technology on board LCA as well as other platforms, reports The Economic Times.

The LCA will not carry the French Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) which will be outfitted with the Rafale fighter jets. However, the French were also not interested in integrating their weapons system with Israeli-origin radar.

“We are not even looking at the French option. We want to promote the indigenous system and have it equipped across all our platforms. The Astra development programme has been satisfactory,” a top official said.

After extensive testing of Astra missile, IAF and the Defence Research And Development Organisation (DRDO) on 17 September 2019 carried out successful user trials of the Astra Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile.

A live aerial target was engaged accurately demonstrating the capability of India’s first indigenously developed air-to-air missile. Various radars, Electro-Optical Tracking Systems (EOTS) and sensors tracked the missile and confirmed its engagement with the target.

IAF also plans to induct Astra missile into the Su30MKI fighter jets from which it has been tested and it will also be integrated on other foreign-origin combat aircraft.

As user trials for Astra have been completed the next step will be production order for the missile system and integration tests are being carried out as part of weapons package for 83 of the Mk1A version.

“Astra initially had some technological challenges, which have been overcome successfully. With our persistent effort and with active IAF support, all the user evaluation has been completed and Astra is now ready for induction,” DRDO chief G Sateesh Reddy had told ET.

With a range of 75-100 km, Astra is a major addition to the Indian arsenal and paves the way for future air-to-air missile development within India. The range puts it at par with the French Mica BVR missiles but falls short of the Meteor with 150 km range.

An Appeal...

Dear Reader,

As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.

Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.

We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.

Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.

Become A Patron
Become A Subscriber
Advertisement