The Indian Air Force (IAF) is looking to adopt a new European visual range air to air missile across its fighter fleet.
The Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) of European missile-maker MBDA has been approved for fitting on Jaguar jets and the IAF was looking to integrating it on the Su-30MKIs and the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) as well, defence sources said.
“The ASRAAM has been chosen for the Jaguar and is currently undergoing integration. First firing is expected by year-end,” a defence source said. It would be the first over the wing launched missile in the IAF inventory. All missiles are now fired from under the wing.
The missile was shortlisted through a tender and MBDA was working with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) on the integration. After the initial trials, further modifications on the Jaguar would be done by HAL. “HAL is in talks with MDBA for integrating the missile on the LCA and the Su-30MKI as well. It will be taken up after the Jaguar integration,” the source added.
ASRAAM is widely used as a Within Visual Range (WVR) air dominance missile with a range of over 25km.
HAL had built about 145 Jaguars for the IAF, of which around 120 are in service, and 80 jets will continue till 2025-30. A plan to get a new more powerful engine has been long delayed.