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Defence Ministry signs ₹2,971 cr. deal for indigenous Astra Beyond Visual Range missiles- Mrit News

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According to a ministry statement, the missile and associated systems for its launch has been developed by the DRDO

According to a ministry statement, the missile and associated systems for its launch has been developed by the DRDO

The Defence Ministry on Tuesday signed a contract with defence public sector undertaking Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) for 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 ₹2,971 Crore.

“Astra Mk-I missile and all associated systems for its launch, ground handling and testing has been developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in coordination with the IAF,” a Ministry statement said.

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, the statement said. “The Navy will integrate the missile on the MiG-29K fighter aircraft,” it stated.

Astra has a range of over 100 kms with modern guidance and navigation techniques and has midcourse guidance and RF seeker based terminal guidance to achieve target destruction with pin point accuracy, the DRDO had stated earlier.

In July 2020, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had approved the purchase of 248 Astra-MK1 missiles, of which 200 are meant for the IAF and 48 for the Navy.

Air to Air missile with BVR capability provides large stand off ranges to 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.

“This missile is technologically and economically superior to many such imported missile systems,” the Ministry said.

As per the statement, Transfer of Technology from DRDO to BDL for production of Astra-MkI missile and all associated systems has been completed and production at BDL is in progress.

“This project will act as a catalyst for development of infrastructure and testing facilities at BDL. It will also create opportunities for several Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in aerospace technology for a period of at least 25 years,” it added.

A longer range and more sophisticated Astra-Mk2 is under development by DRDO and once it is inducted will free up dependency on imports in the BVR segment.

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