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In a recent interview with Bharat Shakti Editor-in-Chief Nitin A. Gokhale, Commodore A. Madhavarao (Retd.), Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), revealed the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) exceptional regard for the Astra Mk-I air-to-air missile. Commodore Madhavarao went beyond simply calling it one of the best, instead declaring it the world leader in its class. This news comes alongside confirmation of delivery commencement for the Astra Mk-I to the IAF.

The Astra Mk-I is a testament to India’s indigenous missile development capabilities. This Beyond-Visual-Range (BVR) air-to-air missile boasts an impressive range, exceeding four times the speed of sound (Mach 4.5) during flight. Following successful user trials conducted from Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets, the Astra-1 is now in full production at BDL.

Commodore Madhavarao confirmed that BDL has begun deliveries of the Astra Mk-I missiles to the IAF. The initial IAF order comprised 250 Astra Mk-I missiles. Furthermore, the IAF’s confidence in this missile system is underscored by a second order placed in 2022. This second batch, valued at Rs 2,971 crore, signifies a long-term commitment to the Astra Mk-I program, with deliveries expected to be completed within six years.

The IAF’s effusive praise for the Astra Mk-I and its commitment through a second order solidify this missile’s position as a cornerstone of India’s air defense strategy. The Astra Mk-I’s superior range and performance provide the IAF with a significant advantage in aerial engagements, ensuring a more robust and well-equipped air force.