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In a significant move to boost the production of indigenous Astra MK-I Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Air-to-Air Missiles (AAM), the Indian Air Force (IAF) is exploring the inclusion of a private sector company as a production partner. Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), a state-run enterprise, has already received orders for 400 Astra MK-I missiles and associated equipment for the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy. The Transfer of Technology from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to BDL for the production of Astra MK-I missiles has been successfully completed, with production at BDL currently underway.

In response to the IAF’s initiative, DRDO is preparing to replicate the technology transfer process to establish a second production line for Astra missiles. The IAF’s projected order for the second batch is expected to surpass 500 units. This decision stems from the IAF’s desire to replace the Russian-supplied R-77 air-to-air missile across its fleet of 260 Sukhoi-30MKI aircraft, as well as integrate the Astra missile into 120 LCA-Tejas aircraft and 36 Rafale fighter jets.

While many private sector companies are already contributing components to the Astra missile system, such as Premier Explosives Limited, which supplies solid propellants, the IAF is actively seeking a private sector company capable of independently developing the Astra missile based on the Transfer of Technology.

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