Context: MoD signs 2971 crore rupees contract with BDL for supply of ASTRA MK-I Beyond Visual Range Air to Air Missile for IAF and Indian Navy.
Key Points :
- The Astra Mk-1 is a beyond visible range (BVR), air-to-air missile (AAM).
- BVM missiles are able to engage beyond the range of 20 nautical miles or 37 kilometres.
- AAMs are fired from an airborne asset to damage an airborne target.
- The Astra project was formally launched during the early 2000s and around 2017, the development phase of the Mk-1 model was complete.
- The missile is completely incorporated on the Sukhoi 30 MKI I and will be incorporated with different fighter jets in a phased manner, along with Tejas and the Mig-29K of the Navy.
- The Astra Mk-1 has been designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation with range of 110 Km speed in excess of Mach 4
Significance of the Deal :
- Push for Atma Nirbhar Bharat:
- The Ministry of Defence stated that till now, the technology to fabricate missiles of this elegance indigenously was not available.
- The Ministry stated the transfer of technology from DRDO to Bharat Dynamics Ltd. will create possibilities for numerous MSMEs in aerospace technology for at least 25 years.
- More than 50 private and public industries, along with the IAF and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), have contributed in constructing the Astra systems.
- Strategic Significance:
- The missile has been designed primarily based totally on requirements specified by the IAF for BVR in addition to close-combat engagement, decreasing the dependency on foreign Countries / sources.
- AAMs with BVR capability offer massive stand-off ranges to fighter jets which can neutralise adversary airborne assets without exposing themselves to adversary air defence measures.
- Stand-off range means the missile is launched at a distance enough to allow the attacking side to evade defensive fire from the target.
- The MoD has stated that Astra is technologically and economically advanced to many such imported missile systems.
Way Forward :
- These types of deals will act as catalysts for the development and self-reliance in the sector of Defence Infrastructure of India.