Source : IgMp Bureau
There were many reports regarding the test of Astra Mk-2 and people are very eager to see the test of Astra Mk-2 Beyond Visual Range air to air missile, there are reports that DRDO may test it by the end of this year.
But in the recent Defence Expo at Cape Town in South Africa, HAL displayed a weapons configuration image of LCA Tejas Mk1A where they have shown all the supported weapons including the current and future weapons. It is very interesting to watch a particular area of that image, where you can clearly see that Astra Mk-1 and Astra Mk-2 have been placed under the current weapons package which means Astra Mk-1 and Astra Mk-2 BVRAAM have already been inducted into the LCA Tejas Mk1A.
|Astra Mk-1 and Mk-2 placed under current weapons category in LCA Tejas flex shown by HAL in Defence Expo at South Africa|If there had not been any mistake on the part of the HAL whose chances are very minimal, then it is clear that Astra Mk-2 has already been integrated on LCA Tejas Mk1/1A. It is not that the Astra Mk-2 has been shown as ready but the missile will be integrated on LCA Tejas it is confirmed now, and there is a logic behind this, let’s explain that If you all scroll below the image, then there you find that Rudram-1 has been shown under the category of Future Weapons, which means Rudram-1 will be integrated on LCA Tejas in the future, remember Rudram-1 is an Anti-Radiation Missile. Rudram-1 has successfully completed all its testing and the production partner has already been selected, and in the coming few months, Rudram-1 will go for production which means this missile is not under development, but it has not been integrated yet on the LCA Tejas, that is why it is placed in the future weapons category. But the Astra Mk-1 and Mk-2 has already been integrated on LCA Tejas, that’s why they are placed under the current weapons category in that flex or image displayed by HAL.
|Rudram-1 Anti Radiation Missile placed under future weapons category in the flex shown by HAL in South African Defence Expo|What we think is that there is a theory that Astra Mk-1 and Mk-2 is almost same by shape or body, if we go by that, then Astra Mk-1 has already been integrated on Tejas, so it will not be difficult to integrate Astra Mk-2 on Tejas after all the testing. But there’s a problem in this logic, the drag, weight and aerodynamics of Astra Mk-2 are completely different from Astra Mk-1, and it will not be same to integrate Astra Mk-2 without any testing or changes in the Tejas airframe. And as far as testing of Astra Mk-2 is concerned, you all may remember India had issued several Area Warning NOTAMs in the last couple of months of short ranges between 100-300 kms, there are high chances that Astra Mk-2 had already been tested then, but we have to wait for official confirmation. Anyway, integration of Astra Mk-2 BVRAAM with LCA Tejas Mk1A is a very good development and huge capability boost to LCA Tejas as Astra Mk-2 BVRAAM will provide a long-range air-to-air missile capability in the air comparable to French Meteor and Chinese PL-15.
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