Significance of missiles in air combat
The air-to-air missile is the final act in an air dominance/air superiority pageant in modern warfare. Almost simultaneously with the very successful joint venture project with the Russians of the Brahmos cruise missile that fulfils the wish list of all the three Indian military Services, Defence Research and Development Organisation laboratories are working to bring to fruition another joint venture with Russia for a long range air-to-air missile generically described as an ‘AWACS killer’.
An indigenous variant the Astra that is intended to deal with a dogfight situation as well as have a substantial ‘beyond visual range’ capability is in the process of final tests before moving into the serial production stage.
The Indian Air Force currently has in its inventory the Russian R- 77RVV-AE (NATO designation AA-12 Adder) and the French Matra 530D which came along with the Mirage-2000 when India bought the aircraft off the drawing board in the 80s to fill a perceived gap in deep penetration c
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