SOURCE: RAUNAK KUNDE / NEWS BEAT / IDRW.ORG
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Indian Air Force (IAF) will be soon fast-tracking the integration and upgradation of Squadrons that are equipped with Su-30MKI fighter type so that can be cleared for using India’s Astra Beyond Visual range air-to-air missiles. idrw.org has been told that a few weeks back few frontline squadrons started receiving Astra BVRAAMs and the missile is now operational.
Astra BVRAAMs integration requires some hardware and software upgrades on the Su-30MKI fighter Jets, initially pace was also due to limited production runs of the missile system but now the production pace is picking up after the recent round of orders and more missiles will be enabled Squadrons wise in next few months and complete process is likely to be completed by late 2023 or early 2024.
Initially, only Two Su-30MKI were used as TestBed for Developmental trials of the Astra Missile, and the missile-demonstrated long-range interception capabilities when it took down a Banshee target drone at a range of 87km in the head-on mode. ASTE and TACDE were deployed by IAF to study how tactics and the best firing envelope can be devised around the Astra Missile that later will be followed by other Squadrons.
Astra MkI with a range of 110km will be replacing the Russian Vympel NPO R-77 Beyond visual range air-to-air missile in the long run till IAF runs out of the existing inventory and soon Astra MkI will also be integrated into LCA-Tejas Mk1A and Rafale as production rate will peak around 2024 onwards.
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