New Delhi: In a major boost to India’s air power, public sector defence undertaking, Bharat Dynamics Limited [BDL] has received contracts to deliver Astra Beyond Visual Range [BVR] air-to-air missiles and auxiliary equipment. This decision underpins the country’s strategic goal to decrease reliance on imported weaponry and establish a more robust national defence system.
To quantify the transaction, the contracts are valued at a substantial Rs 29.7 billion. The overarching aim of the arrangement is to accelerate India’s self-sufficiency in armaments and fortify domestic security infrastructure.
In an achievement for the Indian defence industry, BDL has also gained authorisation from officials for mass production of the indigenous Astra MK-1 missile, with the first production set to be operational by the end of 2023. This milestone is indicative of substantial progress in India’s missile sector.
Proving their universal applicability, these Astra missiles are now slated to be fitted on Russian Su-30MKI fighter jets following their successful integration and validation on these aircraft during trials. Therefore, the new arrangement anticipates a widespread deployment of these engineered missiles.
An upgraded model known as the Astra MK-2 is currently under development. This version possesses an extended flight range, with the recent execution of successful static fire tests signalling a step forward in its progression. The incorporation of the Astra MK-2 into the Indian Air Force’s arsenal is predicted to bolster their combat capacities significantly. Furthermore, this addition is expected to fortify India’s position on the international stage, a prospect met with enthusiasm within the country.