New Delhi. 07 October 2019. With a strong reputation as a reliable partner that has supported the Indian Air Force for over 50 years, European missile firm MBDA understands the importance of operational capability and sovereignty to the IAF.
For these reasons, the company has so strongly committed to Make in India to deliver both industrial sovereignty and the best of military equipment to India. Local firms now supply key components for key new missiles that are enhancing the combat power of the IAF.
MBDA continues to deepen its relationship with Indian industry, as seen by the recent formation of a joint venture with long-standing partner Larsen & Toubro to deliver a series of important missile programmes under the Make in India category. With exciting times ahead as the highly-capable Rafale joins the IAF’s inventory, these new aircraft come armed with a potent suite of weapons from MBDA. Unquestionably the most famous is the Meteor, the ramjet powered and network-enabled beyond visual range air-to-air missile that is widely recognised as a game changer for air combat. Meteor’s throttleable ramjet engine provides sustained high-supersonic power, making it the only missile able to chase down manoeuvring enemies at even the longest of ranges.
No less game-changing for the IAF is the SCALP stealthy air-launched cruise missile that also forms part of the Rafale weapons package. This potent weapon will give the IAF an unrivalled and flexible tool to conduct deep strike missions at long ranges against even the most protected of hostile targets.
MBDA also manufactures the Brimstone and SPEAR strike missiles. Both lightweight missiles (Brimstone weights 50 kg and SPEAR 100 kg), they feature advanced dual-mode guidance that allow them to engage moving, manoeuvring targets in all weather conditions, either autonomously or with operator in the loop control.
Brimstone is well-known as the best anti-armour missile in the world, being able to be salvo fired against multiple targets and excelling at defeating even the best protected armoured vehicles with the latest defensive aid systems. It’s also unique for being truly multiplatform, being able to arm fast jets, helicopters, UAVs, land platforms and naval vessels. SPEAR builds on the capabilities of Brimstone, but this mini-cruise missile is able to strike targets over 140km away. With an enhanced seeker and two-way datalink, this truly intelligent and networked enabled weapon is able to defeat even the most sophisticated of air defence systems be they on land or sea.
Another MBDA weapon, MICA provides both the Rafale and the newly upgraded IAF Mirage 2000 aircraft with a uniquely flexible approach to air combat. MICA is the only missile in the world featuring two interoperable seekers (active radar and imaging infrared) makes MICA highly countermeasure resistant and therefore highly effective.
The IAF is also getting a major boost with the addition of the ASRAAM as its Next Generation Close Combat Missile. With its large rocket motor and clean aerodynamic design, ASRAAM has unrivalled speed and resultant aerodynamic manoeuvrability and range. ASRAAM gives it a high kinematic capability that delivers superior end-game performance for within visual range air combat. MBDA’s ASRAAM missiles are significantly enhancing the battle capability India’s Jaguar bombers, giving them unrivalled self-protection ability and enhanced ability to penetrate hostile airspace.
Working with HAL, integration of the Mistral ATAM system on the Dhruv helicopter and the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) has been very successfully completed. Key to many of MBDA’s offerings are their ability to be fitted to multiple platforms. By utilising the same weapon across different platforms, not only do extra aircraft benefit from these capabilities, but there are also major cost savings and operational benefits to be found in maintaining common equipment stockpiles, not to mention the training and logistics benefits.
For example, utilisation of the Mistral missile on India’s helicopter platforms provides a bridge to their use in a ground based VSHORAD role, where the missile is fully compliant with India’s requirements and outperforms the capabilities of its rival