India’s First BVR Missile Astra on Verge of Commercial Production

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The successful public firing of the home-made missile has set the stage for its commercial production from next year. The Astra will replace some of the French, Russian and Israeli air to air missiles.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — Indian Air Force is expected to receive country's first indigenous beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) Astra by the end of this year. Indian defense scientists had set this revised timeline due to delay in getting critical components. The scheduled date of completion of the project was September 2012.

"The project was delayed because of technological challenges and delay in availability of critical components but now it is expected to be completed in December 2016," Dr. Subhash Bhamre, India's Minister of State for Defense informed the Parliament.

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Indian Air Force Sukhoi 30 MKI jets had fired the Astra during the Ìron Fist' fire-power demonstration in the deserts of Rajasthan this March. India is planning to integrate `the Astra missiles on its next generation Tejas light combat aircraft.

The Astra will allow IAF jets hit aerial targets up to 60 km away. Indian scientists at DRDO are also developing a more powerful BVRAAM Astra Mk 2 with a range of 100 km.

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