Boris Solomiac, MBDA General Delegate India has confirmed to Vayu Aerospace that the Tejas Mk1A fleet will now also be armed with potent MBDA’s advanced short-range air-to-air missile (ASRAAM) air dominance weapon, alongside potentially other Indian platforms in the future. After Python-5, the LCA-Tejas fleet getting ASRAAM is a significant step to boost combat capabilities of the jet, since both missiles are widely reckoned to be the best short-range AAM in the world.

MBDA has agreed with Bharat Dynamics Ltd to conduct the final assembly, integration & testing (FAIT) of ASRAAM missiles in India for the Indian Air Force. The existing block 4 ASRAAM comes with an unmatched combination of lethality, agility, and range, and is presently armed on the DARIN-III Jaguar Deep-Strike aircraft fleet.

It is not clear if MBDA will be offering its block 6 ASRAAM that incorporates new and updated sub-systems, including a new-generation seeker of increased pixel density, and a built-in cryogenic cooling system. The first Flying Test Bed (FTB) of Tejas Mk1A is supposed to make its maiden flight this June followed by another FTB next year.

HAL will commence deliveries of the first batch of Tejas Mk1A from 2024 onwards and production is scheduled to come to end by 2028. HAL has plans to use the present production line to manufacture Tejas MkII and LCA-LIFT from 2028 onwards. AMCA Program will be getting a new production line in Tamil Nadu Defense Corridor.

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