New Delhi: The Indian Air Force (IAF) received a substantial batch of Astra Mk1 Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missiles on Sunday, and Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) says it's ready to be exported. 

Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt on Sunday flagged off the indigenously developed and manufactured Astra Missiles for supply to the Indian Air Force.

Astra is a beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missile indigenously developed by DRDO and manufactured by BDL for the IAF, it said.

“Astra Weapon System is best in its class of weapon systems in the world in the category of air-to-air missiles. The missile has a range of 100 plus km,” the release said.

The flag off ceremony marks a significant achievement for BDL, positioning it among a select few companies globally with the capability to manufacture state of the art air-to-air missiles, it said.

The Union Minister congratulated BDL on their efforts to realise the production of the indigenously developed missile in line with the Government of India’s ‘Atmanirbhar’ policy. He also appreciated the contribution being made by BDL in enhancing defence exports of the country.

Madhavarao said that the focus of BDL is always on ‘Make in India’ with maximum indigenous content. He stated that BDL is in receipt of several leads from friendly foreign countries for the Astra Weapon System.

Specifications That Make Astra A Key Asset For IAF

Range: The ASTRA missile exhibits a range of 80 to 110 km, allowing it to engage targets beyond the pilot's visual line of sight, granting it true BVR capabilities

Altitude: With the ability to operate at altitudes of up to 20 km, the ASTRA system ensures comprehensive coverage across various scenarios

Length and Diameter: The missile is around 3840 mm long and has a diameter of 178 mm, underlining its sleek , aerodynamic design and manoeuvring capabilities

Flight Duration: With a flight duration of 100 to 120 seconds, the ASTRA missile quickly and efficiently reaches its target and neutralises it, proven by the numerous user and validation trials by DRDO on various platforms including the TEJAS

Warhead: Armed with a High Explosive (HE) pre-fragmented warhead, the ASTRA system packs a punch against its intended targets

Max Speed: Capable of reaching speeds of Mach 4.5, the ASTRA missile ensures rapid response and interception & interdiction capabilities

Propulsion: The missile is powered by a Solid Rocket Motor, contributing to its agility and versatility.
Detonation Mechanism: Employing a radar proximity fuse, the ASTRA system optimises its precision in target engagement

Guidance System: Featuring inertial guidance, mid-course updates, and terminal active radar homing (at 13 km), the missile has a sophisticated guidance system

DRDO’s Future Plans For Astra

Currently, the Astra missile is integrated with the Su-30 MKI. However, DRDO is also developing The VL-SRSAM, Vertical Launch – Short Range Surface to Air Missile, which is the air defence version of the system and it comes with fibre-optic gyroscope-based inertial guidance during mid-course and active radar homing in the terminal phase. Featuring both Lock-on Before launch (LOBL) and Lock-on after launch (LOAL) capability, it receives mid-course updates through datalink. Designed to replace the Barak-1 system on Indian Navy warships, it also is slated to serve as a short-range air defence system for the Indian Air Force.