ASRAAM being fired from an F-35 jet
ASRAAM being fired from an F-35 jet | Source: mbda-systems.com
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New Delhi: The Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to test-fire the British Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) from the Russian Su-30 MKI and the Anglo-French Jaguar aircraft by the end of this year, ThePrint has learnt.

The planned test comes as India tries to bridge the missile gap between the IAF and the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), which displayed an edge during the 27 February dogfight with better weapons that had higher standoff ranges (the distance from which a missile can be fired without entering the attack range of the other side).

Weighing 88 kg, ASRAAM is a Within-Visual-Range (WVR) dominance weapon with a range of over 25 km. It accepts target information via aircraft sensors, such as radar or helmet-mounted sight, but can also act as an autonomous infrared search and track system.

The IAF chose the ASRAAM in 2013 after a contest that involved the Israeli Python, the German Diehl IRIS-T and American Raytheon AIM-9X Sidewinder.

The IAF and state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) are also in technical discussions with the European firm MBDA, which manufactures ASRAAM, to integrate the missile on board the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas.

According to the sources, the integration of the missile with the Su-30 MKI and the Jaguar is in the “final stages”.


Also read: After Balakot, Modi govt fast-tracks integration of Brahmos missile on Sukhoi fighter jets


Western missile on Russian aircraft

The integration of the ASRAAM on the Jaguar deep-penetration strike aircraft is part of the upgrade of the ageing aircraft.

The IAF had signed a £250 million contract with MBDA UK in July 2014 for ASRAAM-armed Jaguars. In a first, the missile would be integrated over the aircraft’s wings.

Meanwhile, the integration of the missile on Su-30 MKI, which is being done on a trial basis, will mark the first time a western missile will arm a Russian fighter.

However, Russian defence sources told ThePrint that the IAF had not informed them officially about the project.

The state-run National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), under the Ministry of Science and Technology, has been tasked with proving the stability of the ASRAAM on the Su-30 MKI air frame.

If the integration is successful, the IAF plans to standardise the missile across the fleet, which is currently armed with the R-73 short-range air-to-air missile.

Sources in the defence establishment said MBDA was willing to shift the final assembly line of the weapon system from Bolton in the United Kingdom to the state-run Bharat Dynamics Ltd in Hyderabad.

According to the sources, this could be done under the MBDA’s offset obligations across contracts to the tune of $1 billion signed in India. MBDA is jointly held by Airbus, BAE Systems and Leonardo.


Also read: All about Russian S-400 missiles, India’s biggest defence against Pakistan and China


 

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Asraam is an outstanding missile that has all the WVR characteristics with medium to BVR legs. Even US missile experts acknowledge that the British ASRAAM outperforms the aim9x

    Ps. Over the wing first for india maybe but RAF jaguars had over the wing missiles during the first gulf war

  2. These are just money making tactics for politicians …Russian missile is as good the American missiles….Any way PAF & IAF aircrafts were not flying 100 miles away so it does not make sense… The only reason PAF pilots won that air battle because they came to fight well prepared 10 am on the morning. IAF air command never expected PAF to show up in broad daylight….because of Israeli training IAF pilots thought PAF will react as Syrian or Iranian pilots do… meaning do nothing ……but they forgot this was was PAF !!!

  3. Though the IAF had realized it after Feb dogfight but it took months to admin them publically that they were outperformed by PAF and IAF lost at least three of its war machines that include mig-21, Su-30 and self-shooting of MI-17.

  4. A few months ago Mr Shekhar Gupta was the only Indian journalist to write that our aircraft were outranged by the Pak missile armoury. No one paid much attention at the time, in the euphoria over the exploits of our IAF pilots. This report corroborates that our aircraft were armed with missiles of inferior range, and that it has taken five years for IAF to wake up.

    • @sudarahan Absolute nonsense. nothing as such. The American aim-120c5 missile on Pakistani f-16 has max range of 80km vs Russian r-77 on su-30mki which has max 90km range….

      but but but… both the missiles have only about 30km max range in tail chase mode…. hence are never fired for max range and are neither accurate at max range

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