BDL recently signed an MoU With Dassault Aviation that could pay way to integrate India’s locally developed Astra Beyond Visual Range air-to-air missile into its Rafale fleet. BDL and IAF require source code authorization of Dassault Aviation so that the weapon fire control systems and fire control radar can communicate with the missile for which new software needs to be written, tested, and validated, and then it moves towards the carriage trials phase.

OEM often maintains total control of the source code and each Indian weapon that needs to be integrated into the Rafale needs to be vetted and cleared by the OEM due to which process is lengthy and it is unlikely Astra integration will not be complete by 2025.

While Meteor, beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM), is standard on the Rafale fighter jets, It is also expensive, and to supplement it Indian Rafale fighter jets carry MICA BVRAAMs that are considered inferior to the Astra Mk1 that outscores it in range and operational parameters.

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