By : Loïc Piedevache, Country Head, India,
MBDA Group / Vayu
That MBDA has been delivering “battle-winning capabilities” to the Indian Air Force and collaborating with Indian industry for over 50 years is well known. Throughout this period, there have been two guiding principles, which are to provide the very best technologies to the Indian Air Force and to work in true partnership in support of the Indian Defence Industry.
The Indian Air Force is on the cusp of receiving the ramjet-powered and network-enabled Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile from MBDA (image above). This next generation missile is widely recognised as a game changer for air combat and will provide the Indian AirForce with unrivalled air dominance capability.
Key to this is Meteor’s throttleable ramjet engine, active radar seeker and datalink that combine to provide unmatched end-game speed and manoeuvrability at greatly extended ranges, resulting in its all-important ‘ No-Escape Zone’ being more than three times greater than any other existing or planned BVR weapons.
The Indian Air Force’s inventory also includes the MICA and ASRAAM within visual range (or close air combat) missiles. MICA is arguably the only missile in the world featuring two interoperable seekers (active radar and imaging infrared) to cover the spectrum from close-in dogfight to long beyond visual range. Its ability to fly out to
BVR in passive mode before the seeker locks on in the final stages of the end-game has earned it the nickname ‘silent killer’ as the target has little time to react or to deploy efective counter-measures.
Possessing both infrared and radarguided versions also makes MICA highly counter-measure resistant and therefore highly effective. Selected by the IAF to equip its Jaguar strike aircraft is the ASRAAM, which provides a step-change in air combat performance. With its large rocket motor and clean aerodynamic design, ASRAAM gives high kinematic capability that delivers superior end-game performance for within visual range air combat. MBDA’s ASRAAM missiles have signifcantly enhanced battle capability of the IAF’s Jaguar giving them unrivalled combat ability.
Of equal importance is industrial partnership. As an example, MBDA has been assisting the development of sovereign Indian missile industry, both public and private, for over 50 years. MBDA has formed partnership with Indian industry to produce over 40,000 missiles of the MILAN family, a noteworthy and on-going programme. MBDA continues to deepen its relationship with Indian industry, as seen by the recent formation of a joint venture with longstanding partner Larsen &
Toubro to deliver a series of important missile programmes under the ‘Make in India’ initiatives.
Then, the Mistral ATAM system which has been successfully integrated on HAL’s Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and final integration is being done on the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH). Utilisation of the Mistral missile on India’s helicopter platforms also provides a key for their use
in a ground based VSHORAD role, wherein the missile is fully compliant with India’s
MBDA has an excellent track record providing both operational and industrial capabilities in partnership with the Indian Air Force and India’s defence industry. The strength of these two pillars make it a long term true partnership, and one that should only continue to get stronger.