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Current Affairs

Astra Mk-1 air-to-air missile

Date: 02 June 2022 Tags: Military

Issue

The Defence Ministry has signed a contract with Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL) for supply of the Astra Mark-1, at a cost of Rs 2,971 crore.

 

Background

The Astra Mk-1 is a beyond visual range (BVR), air-to-air missile (AAM) that will be used on fighter jets of the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy.

 

Details

  • The Astra missile has been designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

  • It is suitable to be deployed on fighter jets like Sukhoi-30 MKI and Tejas of the IAF and the Mig-29K of the Navy.

  • Astra can be fired from airborne asset to destroy an airborne target. The missile has the capability to strike beyond the range of 20 nautical miles or 37 kilometers.

  • The Astra Mk-1 has range of around 110 km. The Mk-2 with a range over 150 km is being developed and Mk-3 version with a longer range is being envisaged.

 

Production of weapons

  • The missile should have minimum of 50 per cent indigenous content calculated on the basis of cost of the total contract value.

  • Till now, indigenous production of this missile was not possible. The DRDO has now transferred the technology to BDL to manufacture domestically.

  • The project is expected to create opportunities for several MSMEs in aerospace technology for at least 25 years.

 

Strategic significance

  • The missile has been developed for BVR as well as close-combat engagement. This will reduce dependency on foreign sources.

  • Astra missiles can destroy adversary airborne assets without exposing themselves to adversary air defence measures.

  • It is suitable for air combat operations as it can travel at speeds more than four times that of sound and can reach a maximum altitude of 20 km.

 

Deployment

  • It is fully integrated on the Sukhoi 30 MKI I and will be deployed on other fighter aircraft in a phased manner, including the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas.

  • The missile will be integrated on the MiG-29K fighter aircraft which are deployed on the Navy’s aircraft carriers.