SOURCE: MANJUNATH REDDY/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
According to local media reports, Indian Air Force is actively considering the integration of the European Meteor missiles along with Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) to 83 Tejas MK-1A fighter jets which will soon go into the production.
Meteor missile will be introduced in Indian Air Force when France starts deliveries of the 36 Rafale combat jets from 2019 onwards. India brought European Meteor missiles along with the Rafales after Air Force desired to include the Meteors as part of the weapons package.
Meteor BVRAAM is equipped with solid fuel variable flow ducted rocket (ramjet) Propulsion system which provides Meteor missile with a capability to maintain consistent high speeds and enforce a large no escape zone literally making it next to impossible for the target aircraft to escape from its claws.
Meteor missile has a range in excess of 100km and in certain conditions and depending on the targets can also hit a target near 150km range. Mach 4 capable BVRAAM is counted among best Air-to-Air Missile system and has been adopted on all Western contemporary fighter jets like F-35, Eurofighter, Rafales and Gripen-E.
Tejas MK-1 already comes with Israeli supplied Derby Beyond Visual Range (BVR) active radar-guided air-to-air missile and Israel also had made an offer for the supply of beyond 100 km range I-Derby ER which comes with a new seeker that employs an advanced solid-state Software Defined Radar (SDR), based on combat-proven technology derived from the Tamir missile, the interceptor used in RAFAEL’s Iron Dome system.
Derby BVRAAM has a range in excess of 50km an extended range version of the Derby called I-Derby ER has been offered to all the customers of Derby BVRAAM which can be adapted on platforms like Tejas MK-1 and Tejas MK-1A without the need for any major programming to the Mission computer and the Radar.
After Tejas MK-1 faced issues with the integration of the Israeli supplied Python-5 Within visual range (WVR) Missile, MBDA offered India it’s Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) to be equipped on Tejas MK-1A to engage targets within visual range (WVR) combat operations.
ASRAAM is already in service with IAF’ Jaguar Strike fleet where 60 aircraft have received DARIN III standard upgrade which soon will also be integrated with Israeli supplied Elta EL/M-2052 AESA Radar which also has been selected by IAF and HAL to be used on 83 Tejas MK-1A fighter jets.
India’s Astra BVRAAM and Russian R-73 WVRAAM will be other two Air-to-Air Missiles which will be operational with the Tejas MK-1A and Tejas MK-1 fighter fleet in near future but it is rumored that IAF will drop Russian R-73 WVRAAM Missile from Tejas fighter fleet, once ASRAAM is successfully integrated.
Meteor and ASRAAM combination is a go to Air-to-Air Missiles system in all European fighter jets and has also been integrated with Lockheed Martins F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter jet purchased by some of the airforces in Europe. Both developed by MBDA, Combination of Meteor and ASRAAM is capable of engaging targets under complex environmental conditions and provide enhanced aerial combat capabilities for the fighter aircraft it is equipped with.
Advancement made by China, based on the Russian reverse technology has lead to the development of new breed of Air-to-Air Missiles systems which are far more capable than their predecessors and which somewhat has changed the balance in terms of aerial superiority over the skies of South Asia.
Since Meteor BVRAAM is also considered for India’s Sukhoi-30MKI after it goes through the Super-30 Modernisation program in near future. Equipping it on Sukhoi-30MKI, Tejas MK-1A along with Dassault Rafale makes more sense, since this three aircraft fleet will be India’s go to fighter jets which will be deployed to defend and enforce Aerial domination and gain Air-Superiority in the region in event of war and equipping them with the best of the Best Air-to-Air Missiles system is ultimate requirement.