The defence ministry sealed a contract worth Rs 2,971 crore with Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) on Tuesday to procure several batches of the Astra MK-I beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missiles and associated equipment. The missiles are being procured for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian Navy, the ministry said.
The Astra MK-I BVR AAM has been indigenously designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) based on the requirements issued by the IAF. The air-to-air missile with BVR capability provides large stand-off ranges to the IAF’s fighter jets.
The Astra MK-I missile and all associated systems for its launch, ground handling and testing have been developed by the DRDO in coordination with the IAF. ”In a major boost to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ’Aatmanirbhar Bharat’, the Ministry of Defence on May 31 signed a contract with Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) for the supply of Astra MK-I BVR air-to-air missile (AAM) and associated equipment for the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy at a cost of Rs 2,971 crore under Buy (Indian-IDDM) category,” the ministry said in a statement.
It said the missile, for which successful trials have already been undertaken by the IAF, is fully integrated on the Su 30 MK-I fighter aircraft and will be integrated with other fighter jets in a phased manner, including the Light Combat Aircraft (Tejas). It said the navy will integrate the missile on the MiG 29K fighter aircraft.
”The transfer of technology from the DRDO to the BDL for production of Astra MK-I missile and all associated systems has been completed and production at BDL is in progress,” the ministry said. ”This project will act as a catalyst for the development of infrastructure and testing facilities at BDL. It will also create opportunities for several MSMEs in aerospace technology for a period of at least 25 years,” it added.