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The Indian Air Force (IAF) has made a strategic shift in its air-to-air missile program, prioritizing the integration of the domestically developed Astra MkI and MkII missiles over the Israeli I-Derby ER BVRAAMs. IAF had initially planned to equip I-Derby ER BVRAAMs on Su-30MKI, Mk1A and MkII fleet but that has been dropped now to support local air-to-air missiles.

The IAF’s prior exploration of the I-Derby, particularly the older variant integrated into the SPYDER air defence system, served as a temporary solution. The I-Derby’s limited range of fewer than 100 kilometres fell short of the IAF’s long-term requirements. The I-Derby ER, with its extended range, offered a more compelling option. However, the Astra MkII’s comparable capabilities and the strategic advantage of domestic production outweighed the I-Derby ER’s appeal.

The successful test-firing of an I-Derby missile from a Tejas LCA in 2021 showcased the potential for integrating advanced BVRAAMs with this indigenous fighter jet. While the I-Derby itself is not being pursued, This exercise served as a valuable evaluation of the Tejas’s beyond-visual-range capabilities.

Astra MkII Captive trials have been concluded including realize trials, it has been reported that even the unguided Dual-Pulse Rocket motor of the missile was tested in unguided mode while full configuration trials are waiting.

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