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Public sector major Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) has achieved a significant milestone in the development of India’s indigenous air defence capabilities by commencing Limited Series Production clearance from DRDO for Astra Mark-I Missile. The missile, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and manufactured by BDL, is a beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missile that will significantly enhance the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) combat capabilities.

Last Year BDL got a Rs 2,971-crore contract for Astra Mk1, which will be executed in six years. DRDO has completed the transfer of technology on the missile and associated equipment to BDL, and production has already started. BDL is estimated to be able to manufacture 100 units of Astra Mk1 missiles per year and will complete the order book of 500 units by 2027.

BDL is also in the process of getting ToT for Astra MkII once it completes developmental trials that are planned to be completed by the end of 2024. BDL also expects more orders for the Astra Mk1 in 2024 as Tejas Mk1A production picks up with planned deliveries to begin from 2024 with orders reaching 16 units per year by 2025 onwards.

The Astra Mk1 is a major leap forward in India’s indigenous air defence capabilities. The missile is capable of engaging enemy aircraft at ranges of over 100 kilometres, and it is equipped with a seeker that allows it to home in on its target with high accuracy. The Astra Mk1 is expected to play a vital role in protecting India’s airspace from aerial threats.

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