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Feasibility studies to incorporate the Indian-made Astra Mk1 air-to-air missile with the Rafale fighter jets, procured from the French aerospace company, Dassault Aviation, are expected to be completed next year. Earlier this year, the Indian Air Force (IAF) requested Dassault Aviation to integrate indigenous weapons such as the Astra, a beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missile, and the Smart Anti Airfield Weapon (SAAW) with Rafale fighter jets.

The Astra Mk1 missile is a highly maneuverable BVR missile with a range of over 100 kilometers. It is designed to engage enemy aircraft at long distances before they can enter Indian airspace. The integration of the Astra Mk1 with the Rafale would significantly enhance the IAF’s air-to-air combat capabilities.

Trials of the Astra Mk1 missile with the Rafale are expected to begin before the end of next year or in 2025. Once the integration is successful, India plans to explore the possibility of exporting the Astra Mk1 and other indigenous weapons to other Rafale operators, such as Egypt, Qatar, Greece, Indonesia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

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