Recent clearance by Defence Acquisition Council for procurement of 248 Astra Mk1 Beyond Visual Range Air to Air Missile (BVRAAM) for the first time has confirmed that next fighter jet which will get the new BVRAAM will be Mig-29UPG fleet and Mig-29K as India slowly moves to integrate indigenous Astra BVRAAM into the entire fleet of fighter jets.

The first lot of 50 pre-production Astra Mk1 BVRAAM already has been delivered to IAF, which will be integrated into existing Su-30MKI fleet and another 100 will go to Mig-29UPG which after avionics upgrade and HAL developed Mission Computer will be next to get software upgrade patch for Astra Mk1 integration with the Zhuk-ME electronically scanned slotted planar array radar. Mig-29UPG also got engine improvements and an expanded capability to conduct air-to-ground missions,which also feature an enlarged “hump” behind the cockpit, for  extra fuel.

IAF will start getting 200 Astra Mk1 for Mig-29UPG and Su-30MKI fleet from 2021 onwards but our previous report (200 Astra Mk1 order soon with two different seekers ) hints at possible two seekers. The Indian Navy also flies MiG-29Ks that have many updated features in common with the SMT and UPG variants will also get 48 Astra BVRAAM which will supplement Russian R-77 BVRAAM.

Tejas Mk1A will be third fighter jets which will get Astra Mk1 BVRAAM from 2024 onwards for which IAF might place orders for another 300 lot over 200 currently placed as per information provided to Plans to integrate Astra Mk1 BVRAAM also on Mirage-2000 fleet that has been discussed but it will require French cooperation for source code of the Thales RDY 2 radar for the development of software which will allow Mission computer and Radar to talk to Astra Mk1 missiles for taking out the target.

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