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India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Indian Air Force (IAF) have agreed to revise their approach for the development of the Next-Generation Close Combat Missile (NGCCM), potentially leading to an extended timeline for its completion. The decision was made to develop the NGCCM from scratch instead of incorporating an infrared-homing seeker onto an existing airframe, which was initially planned as a temporary solution using the Astra-Mk1 Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) airframe.

The IAF has set high expectations for the NGCCM, anticipating significant cost reductions in weapon procurement and maintenance across its fleet. By adopting a standardized Close Combat Missile (CCM) for its aircraft, the IAF aims to streamline its arsenal and enhance operational efficiency. To achieve this goal, the IAF plans to equip the MBDA-developed Advanced Short-Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) as a common infrared (IR) missile, replacing the R-73 missiles on the Su-30MKI fleet, as well as being compatible with the Tejas Mk1A and Mk2 aircraft.

The DRDO’s NGCCM will be developed with a focus on improved performance in short-range engagements, specifically targeting distances of less than 50 kilometers. It will possess Lock-On After Launch (LOAL) capabilities, enabling engagement flexibility, and high off-boresight targeting capabilities. These advancements will allow for effective deployment in various scenarios, including internal weapons bays (IWB) of Unmanned Loyal Wingman Aircraft and manned fighter jets like the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) in the near future.

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