Indigenously developed Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Astra air-to-air missiles that are now part of combat air patrols (CAPS) by a forward-deployed on a Su-30MKI Squadron is likely to get its first bulk order as after receiving 250 units of the from the Limited Scale production that are already “proven” on the Russian-origin Sukhoi-30MKI fighters.

Defense PSU Bharat Dynamics is slated to produce the missile in bulk after initial orders were accepted. Each Astra Mk1 was supplied to the Indian Air Force (IAF) at 7.5 crores per unit and with bulk orders being planned unit cost of the missile will likely drop marginally as Astra Mk1 is still the cheapest among its contemporaries that has a range over 100km.

The integration of the Astra beyond visual range air-to-air on the LCA-Tejas is almost over and missile trial can happen by mid of this year in Goa for which ground flutter trials are over and captive flight trials followed by release trials might be completed soon. Navy and HAL are already working on the integration of Astra missiles on the Deck-based Mig-29K that soon will also be replicated on the IAF’s Mig-29UPG fleet in the next year or so that more aircraft types can launch Astra missiles in near future including Tejas Mk1A and Mk2 fleet.

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