Earlier today, the Defence Acquisition Council, headed by Defence Ministry Rajnath Singh, cleared the purchase of 248 indigenously developed Astra beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
India's first indigenous air-to-air missile, Astra has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The missile has been tested by the DRDO and the IAF at least 27 times since it was first fired.
Here are five things you should know about the missile:
1) The missile has an operational range of over 100 kilometres in some configurations, DRDO stated after a test in September 2019.
DRDO, reports say, is already working on increasing the range to 160 kms.
In an interview with the Economic Times in September 2019, DRDO Chairman G Satheesh Reddy had said that the DRDO is “very confident of extending the range to nearly double of its existing range, making it the most lethal BVR missile”.
2) The missile, which initially had a Russian-built Agat 9B1103M seeker, now has an indigenous Ku-band active radar seeker developed by DRDO’s Research Center Imarat in Hyderabad. Seeker helps a missile to acquire and track targets.
3) The missile uses a 15-kg high-explosive warhead to bring down its target. It has been built by the Chandigarh-based Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory.
4) The missile will be assembled by Bharat Dynamics at its facility in Bhanur, Telangana. More than 50 public and private companies were involved in the development of the missile over the last decade.
5) Costing around 7 to 8 crore per unit, the missile is a much cheaper alternative to those India has been buying from Russia and France for decades.
An appeal from Swarajya
At Swarajya, we rely on our readers' support through subscriptions to sustain our media platform. Unlike larger conglomerates, we are unable to relentlessly chase advertising money — our model is largely built on your patronage.
Your support has never been more crucial. We work tirelessly to deliver 10-15 high-quality articles daily, ensuring you receive insightful content from 7 AM to 10 PM.
If you believe India's story has to be articulated in a way it has never been done before without shrugging it off, become a patron (or) subscribe now for ₹̶2̶4̶0̶0̶ ₹1999 and get 12 print issues, unlimited digital access for 1 year, a special India that is Bharat T-shirt (Offer ends soon).
We are counting on you!