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The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has signed a contract with Bharat Dynamics (BDL) to procure Astra MK-I beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missile (AAM).

The estimated value of the contract is approximately $382.96m (Rs2,971cr) and includes the supply of associated equipment.

The Astra MK-I missile will be used by the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Navy.

The contract falls under the Buy Indian Designed, Developed and Manufactured (Indian-IDDM) category.

The Astra MK-I BVR is an indigenous air-to-air missile designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

DRDO developed Astra based on the staff requirements issued by the IAF, to cater to the BVR and close combat engagement needs and cut down the reliance on foreign sources.

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Additionally, DRDO has developed the missile’s related equipment for ground handling, launching and testing in coordination with the IAF.

The integration of the Astra missile with the IAF’s Su-30 MKI multi-role fighter jet is complete.

In 2019, the IAF conducted successful trials of the Astra from its Su-30 MKI aircraft.

According to the MoD, the missile’s integration with the IAF’s other fighter jets, including light combat aircraft Tejas, will be carried out in a phased manner.

Apart from the IAF, the Indian Navy will integrate the Astra missile on its MiG-29K fighter jets.

In a statement, the MoD said: “The transfer of technology from DRDO to BDL for production of ASTRA MK-I missile and all associated systems has been completed and production at BDL is in progress.”

The new contract will further support the development of infrastructure and testing facilities at BDL.

Furthermore, the project is expected to create opportunities for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in aerospace technology for at least 25 years.