SOURCE: VISHAL KARPE / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
United Arab Emirates Air Force (UAEAF) will be the first export customer of Astra, India’s first indigenously developed beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile if recent Indian media reports are to be believed. Developed by India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Astra is an all-weather air-to-air missile which can engage high manoeuvring targets at medium range.
Powered by indigenous RF Seeker, Astra BVRAAM already has gone through intense trials and has met all mission objectives and parameters in recent trials and has entered Small-scale production after it received orders from Indian Air Force.
India’s HAL has helped in the modification of the Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft for the tests of the missile and will make the whole fleet of 272 Su-30 compatible with Astra BVRAAM Soon. Astra BVRAAM will be adapted in Bulk and will be a common beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile to be equipped with the whole fleet of Interceptor and Multi-Role fighter aircrafts used by Indian Air Force .
Next in line to receive Astra BVRAAM will be India’s indigenously developed LCA-Tejas fighter jet followed by Mirage-2000I and recently ordered 36 Dassault Rafale later also their are plans to euip them on the winner of Single-Engined Fighter jet tender.
UAEAF Plans to equip Astra BVRAAM on their 60 upgraded Mirage-2000-9 which presently is equipped with MBDA’s MICA medium-range air-to-air missile. Mirage-2000-9 fleet in UAEAF makes up over 50 % of its fighter fleet and equipping them with Astra BVRAAM shows customers confidence on the Indian developed weapon system, which will open further orders in the middle east.