Indian state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) along with Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) have completed initial ground trials of India’s first indigenous Astra Beyond visual Range air to air missile onboard one of the LSP-Tejas fighter jet and will start captive flight trials of the missile onboard the LSP-Tejas fighter jet from next month giving major flip to the Combat capabilities to the Home-grown fighter jet.

Once the Captive flight trial data of the Astra BVRAAM comes in, LSP-Tejas will be cleared for the first firing of the missile sometime in early 2021, since the majority of the integration work with the onboard Fire Control Radar (FCR) and Mission computer (MC), Including software upgrades on test LSP-Tejas that has been prepped to be used as a Testbed for the Astra BVRAAM Program has been completed.

Tejas Mk1 fleet is currently being armed with Israeli Derby-BRAAM but it has been of the older model that has a maximum range of only 50-60km, while Astra Mk1 BVRAAM has a maximum range of 100km that only comes as a major boost to the present fleet but also allows Pilots to attack hostile aerial targets from safer distances.

Earlier this year, Defence Ministry cleared procurement of additional 248 Astra Missile, 200 for IAF, and 48 for Navy, with more fresh orders likely to be placed in 2021 once trials onboard LCA-Tejas is cleared. Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief, Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria had confirmed that 50 odd Limited serial produced Astra Mk-1 BVRAAM have been cleared for Combat duties onboard Sukhoi-30MKI fleet.

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