IAF likely to induct Astra BVR air-to-air missile by year-end
Defence sources state that the first batch of the indigenous Astra Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air Missile, for which the Indian Air Force (IAF) has placed two contracts with Bharat Dynamics Ltd. (BDL), is anticipated to be deployed by the end of the year.
What is the Astra Missle ?
- The Astra missile is India’s first indigenous air-to-air weapon. The Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) developed the missile. The Astra missile is a BVRAAM (beyond visual range) missile that positions and navigates its target using radar. Off the coast of Odisha, the Astra missile was successfully tested in flight. The Sukhoi-30 MKI was used to fire the missile.
- By the end of this year, the Indian Air Force might have the Astra missile in its arsenal.
What are the specifications of the missile?
- Range: 80 -110 km
- Altitude: up to 20 km
- Length: 3840 mm
- Diameter: 178 mm
- Flight Duration: 100 – 120 Sec
- Warhead: HE Pre Fragmented
- Max Speed: Mach 4.5
- Propulsion: Solid Rocket Motor
What makes the Astra missiles unique?
- Indigeneous Development: Astra is an indigenous development of India that was created and produced there. For India’s defence research and development capabilities, this is a tremendous accomplishment.
- Beyond Visual Range (BVR) capability: Astra is a BVR (Beyond Visual Range) air-to-air missile, which implies it can engage and destroy adversarial aircraft at distances beyond the range of visual identification. For contemporary air warfare scenarios, this skill is essential.
- exceptional manoeuvrability: Astra is renowned for having exceptional manoeuvrability, which enables it to efficiently engage targets that are agile and evasive. Its ability to carry out intricate mid-course and terminal manoeuvres makes it difficult for the target to avoid.
- Multiplatform Integration: Astra is intended to be integrated across multiple platforms, notably the Su-30MKI and Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas. The Indian military can use the missile on a variety of systems thanks to its adaptability.
What are the advantages to the Indian Air Force?
- Enhanced Air Defense: The Astra air-to-air missile considerably increases the IAF’s capacity to engage and shoot down adversarial aircraft at a great distance. This strengthens the IAF’s overall posture for air defence.
- Versatility: The Su-30MKI and LCA Tejas are only two of the many aircraft platforms that Astra can be connected with. Due to the IAF’s ability to equip several types of planes with BVR capabilities, its fleet is more adaptable and powerful.
- Self-reliance: India’s development and production of the Astra missiles signify a move toward defence technological independence. The IAF can guarantee a more dependable and continuous supply of essential munitions by minimizing its reliance on outside vendors.
- Less Dependence on Imports: Astra aids in lessening reliance on imports of foreign missile systems, which may be susceptible to export limitations and supply chain weaknesses. Ensuring India has access to necessary defence gear, improves its national security.
- Cost-Efficiency: By producing Astra missiles at home, the IAF may be able to save money in comparison to importing equivalent systems. This might free up funds for other crucial defence requirements.
- Technology Advancement: The Astra missile features cutting-edge guidance and control technologies, displaying India’s developments in the defence industry. Future indigenous defence technology development can benefit from this expertise.
In conclusion, the Astra missile system offers the Indian Air Force enhanced air defence capabilities, mobility, independence, cost-effectiveness, and technological improvements, eventually advancing the nation’s strategic goals.