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The Hellenic Air Force, an operator of Dassault Rafale and Mirage-2000 aircraft, is closely monitoring the integration process of the Astra Mk1 Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Missile with the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Rafale fleet. This collaborative effort between the IAF and Dassault Aviation to integrate the Astra missile holds significance for Hellenic Air Force as it seeks to address the challenges posed by older MICA BVR missiles in its own fleet.

While the Rafales operated by both the Hellenic Air Force and the Indian Air Force are equipped with highly advanced Meteor BVR missiles that offer superior range and performance, there is a growing need for a more cost-effective BVR missile option to complement the expensive Meteor missiles. The Meteor missile is considered one of the top BVR missiles in the world, but its high cost has prompted many Rafale operators to explore more budget-friendly alternatives.

Enter the Astra Mk1 missile, India’s indigenous BVR missile. As the Indian Air Force collaborates with Dassault Aviation to integrate the Astra missile onto its Rafale aircraft, the move is being closely observed by other Rafale operators like the Hellenic Air Force. The Astra Mk1 missile, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) of India, offers a credible and cost-effective BVR missile option.

The Hellenic Air Force’s Mirage-2000 and Rafale aircraft currently utilize the older MICA BVR missiles, which are considered outdated compared to the latest advancements in missile technology. As the Astra missile integration progresses with Indian Rafales, other Rafale operators are likely to take note of this development.

Although the Meteor missile is highly capable, its cost-effectiveness remains a concern for many air forces. The development of the MICA-NG missile by MBDA, which promises improved capabilities and extended range, is still in progress and is expected to take several years before entering production.

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