The BrahMos Aerospace, an Indo-Russian joint venture had proposed to develop an air-to-air version of the BrahMos missile that will be used to take down slow-moving, high-value targets deep inside enemy airspaces, such as Airborne warning and control systems (AWACS), airborne battlefield, and ground surveillance aircraft or Mid-air refuellers.

BrahMos chief executive officer (CEO) Sudhir Kumar Mishra last year in an interview had said that “We are thinking to develop the air-to-air version with anti-AWACS capability. The range can be in excess of 400-500 km and the test will be sometime in the near future,”. But IAF is not convinced that such a heavy and expensive cruise missile is needed since platforms that can carry such BrahMos A2A Variant will be limited to only 40 Sukhoi-30MKI platforms that have undergone fuselage modification and strengthening at HAL.

Informed sources close to, have said that State-owned DRDO has proposed two viable options that could see the development of Very Long range Air to Air missile that not only be much lighter but still have a range of 400km+. The proposed missile will be adapted for all fighter types in the IAF arsenal. Since details are still sketchy and talks are still ongoing, which proposal of the two given to the IAF will be accepted remains unknown at this stage.

Astra Family

It is officially documented that Astra Mk2 based Beyond Visual range air to air missile that will be based on the Dual-Pulse motor will have a range of 160km+ and Astra Mk3 based on the SFDR Propulsion jointly developed with Russia will have a maximum range of 340km against slow-moving targets when launched from a higher altitude. India is also working on the development of a short to medium-range Astra IR version with a much shorter range that will have an imaging infra-red seeker. India already has started mass production of the Astra Mk1 that has a range of 110km. Once cleared, Astra-X will become the 5th air-to-air missile program developed by DRDO, unless BrahMos Aerospace can convince Top officials of the IAF.

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