India’s state-owned Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) has inaugurated a special production facility to manufacture an initial production batch of the indigenously-developed Astra Mk1 beyond-visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM). The production batch is intended to begin arming the Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) fleet of Sukhoi Su-30MKI’s multi-role fighters by the year-end.
Launched on 27 August at Sangareddy in southern India, BDL’s ‘dedicated’ unit will initially build just 50 of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)-designed all-weather Astra Mk 1.Thereafter, a planned follow-on Astra production order is intended to equip IAF Mirage-2000H and MiG-29 fighter aircraft – and possibly the locally developed Tejas Light Combat Aircraft – supplementing the IAF’s Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Derby BVRAAM system.
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