India strengthens its military arsenal with significant investment in Astra air-to-air missiles developed by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) and DRDO.
The path to missile self-sufficiency
The Indian Air Force has strengthened ties with BDL to procure the Astra air-to-air missile, renowned for its beyond-visual range capability. This step strengthens India’s defense and symbolizes a move towards self-sufficiency in missile production.
The Astra Mk-1 missile has been successfully integrated into the Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter aircraft. With this development, India plans to include these advanced missiles on other foreign-made fighter jets.
By the end of 2023, the first batch of domestically manufactured Astra-MK1 is scheduled to be deployed, an achievement that elevates the missile industry in the country.
Outstanding features of the Astra Mk-1
The Astra Mk-1, with outstanding specifications, incorporates a guidance system powered by a fiber optic gyroscope and an active radar terminal guidance system. With the capacity to receive course corrections, the missile guarantees precision in its attacks.
The active radar, a collaboration with the Russian company Concern Morinformsystem-Agat, and electronic countermeasures ensure its effectiveness even in the face of enemy jamming attempts. Its design includes an explosive warhead and a powerful motor that allows it to reach impressive speeds and operate at high altitudes.
This missile can engage moving targets at considerable ranges, making it a formidable addition to India‘s defensive arsenal.
Astra series previews and projections
While the Astra Mk-1 is already proving to be an effective combat tool, India is already working on developing the Astra-MK2 with greater ranges. This commitment to innovation also contemplates a possible Astra-MK3 with an even more extended range.
In September 2017, the Astra missile completed its final tests and was given the green light for production at Bhanur, Telangana. Additionally, orders have been placed to equip platforms such as the Sukhoi Su-30MKI, HAL Tejas and MiG-29/MiG-29K.
The recent contract with BDL to produce more units of the Astra Mk-1 highlights India‘s goal of progressively replacing Russian-origin missiles with indigenous technology.