Hyderabad: Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt on Sunday flagged off the indigenously-developed and manufactured Astra missile for supply to the Indian Air Force.
The missile was flagged off at Bharat Dynamics Ltd’s (BDL), Kanchanbagh Unit, Hyderabad in the presence of BDL CMD, Commodore A. Madhavarao (Retd), Director General, Missiles & Strategic Systems (DGMSS) U. Raja Babu and other senior officials from the DRDO, the Indian Air Force, and the BDL.
Astra is a beyond visual range air-to-air missile indigenously developed by the DRDO and manufactured by BDL for the IAF and the weapon system is best in its class in the world in the category of air-to-air missiles.
The missile has a range of 100 plus km.
The flag-off ceremony marks a significant achievement for the BDL, positioning it among a select few companies globally with capability to manufacture state of the art air-to-air missiles.
The minister congratulated the BDL for their efforts to realise the production of the indigenously developed missile, in line with the government’s Atmanirbhar policy. He appreciated the contribution being made by the BDL in enhancing defence exports of the country.
Madhavarao stated that the focus of the 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.
He highlighted that BDL has already augmented its manufacturing capability to meet both domestic and international demands of Astra missiles simultaneously. Further, he informed that the Akash NG missile test fired by the DRDO on January 12 was manufactured at the BDL including the state-of-the-art radio frequency seeker.
With the recent test firing of Akash conducted by the IAF, India achieved the distinction of becoming the first country to demonstrate the capability of engagement of four aerial targets simultaneously at 25 km ranges by command guidance using a single firing unit.
The missiles tested have been manufactured by BDL at its Kanchanbagh facility, CMD, the BDL added.
Meanwhile, Bhatt also visited DRDO’s Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Missile Complex. He also visited Research Centre Imarat (RCI) and reviewed the ongoing missile technologies and related programmes, where Raja Babu, briefed him on various technological developments.
Lab Directors of DRDL, ASL, and RCI, explained critical systems and technologies developed by them. The minister witnessed the display of the missile systems and the enabling critical technologies indigenously developed by the DRDO establishments.
Bhatt congratulated all DRDO scientists for the recent successful missions including Agni-Prime, Akash, Akash-NG, Vshorads, Pralay, etc.
He complimented the Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Missile Complex for indigenising various state-of-the-art technologies and for strengthening the defence industrial base in the country in line with the national goal of Atmanirbhar Bharat.
“Knowledge and infrastructure base with the DRDO needs to be tapped by the MSMEs and private industries, which in turn will lead to the establishment of a self-reliant defence industrial ecosystem in our country,” he said adding that DRDO should emerge as world leader in exporting weapon systems to the other nations.