HAL plans to certify Astra Mk1 and ASRAAM air to air missile before Tejas Mk1A enters production
Indian state-owned aerospace and defense company, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is carrying out integration works on one of the Limited series LCA-Tejas aircraft that will enable it to fire Astra Mk1 Beyond Visual Range Air to air missile by end of this year, Plans are also been prepared to start computer-generated data for integration of Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) from the European missile-maker MBDA that has been approved for fitting on LCA-Tejas after talks were held between HAL and MBDA.Heat-seeking, ASRAAM air-to-air missile will be supplementing Russian R-73 for Close Combat air to air combat for the entire LCA-Tejas fleet starting with the Tejas Mk1A fleet that goes into production in 2023. ASRAAM is already been integrated on the Darin-III upgraded Jaguar ground strike fighter jet fleet and IAF is keen that next-generation Close Combat air to air missile becomes a standard missile type across the fleet.
IAF also has been offered I-Derby-ER that has a range of 100km by Israel since Tejas Mk1 already has been integrated with older 60km range I-Derby, which according to Israeli company will be Plug and play system, that will be requiring no changes in the hardware or the Mission Computer system of the aircraft.A final call on I-Derby-ER might be taken at a later stage, while the focus remains on enabling Astra Mk1 and ASRAAM on the Tejas Mk1A fleet, which will also be supplemented with I-Derby and R-73. Astra Mk2 a Dual-Pulse motor based 160km Beyond Visual Range Air to air missile is also being developed to be tested from Sukhoi-Su-30MKI later this year, it is expected that the missile will take few years of developmental and user trials before it is cleared for production. Astra IR (imaging infra-red homing seeker), along with the Astra Mk2 (160km) and Astra Mk3 (340km) will eventually replace imported air-to-air missiles in long run.
SOURCE: IDRW NEWS NETWORK