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MBDA at DefExpo 2020: Making in India

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DEFEXPO 2020 sees exciting developments from MBDA as it continues to expand and deliver on its vision to Make in India.

A particular highlight is the news that L&T MBDA Missile Systems Ltd has submitted its first bid to the Indian Armed Forces – offering Sea Ceptor, the latest generation naval air defence system, in its RFP response for the Indian Navy’s Short-Range Surface to Air Missile (SRSAM) requirement with the aim to Make in India. This development comes soon in the JV’s history, which only made its debut at the previous edition of Defexpo in 2018.

This year is particularly noteworthy also for it sees the arrival in India of the first Rafale fighter aircraft for the Indian Air Force, which will be armed with a game changing set of weapons from MBDA including the SCALP deep strike and Meteor air-to-air missile.

MBDA has been actively working in partnership with India’s government and industry to build India’s defence industrial capabilities for over 50 years. MBDA is recognised world-wide as an absolute leader in the field of missile technologies. We are also recognised as being the only truly integrated multi-national company in the defence sector – co-operation is in our DNA in a way that is unique in the defence sector, and particularly in the field of missiles. This makes us uniquely able to partner with India, to work with the DRDO, the Indian MoD, and to support the development of India’s public and private defence-industrial capabilities.

We have the technological knowhow needed to transform India’s industry, we have the experience of making partnerships work for the long-term, but most importantly, we also have the right attitude

– we view our relationship as one of true partners, not of buyer and seller.

To deliver this we have a dedicated and strong industrial cooperation and offset (ICO) team that works solely on partnerships with India. This MBDA ICO team has delivered extensive and significant transfers of technology to develop India’s defence-industrial capabilities. This includes the manufacturing by Indian industry of 15 major subassemblies of MICA missile covering various complex technologies such as mechanical, electrical, electromechanical and pyrotechnic items. Similar transfers to build India’s defence-industrial capabilities have also occurred on the Mistral and ASRAAM missiles, including ToT for setting up industrial capabilities, complete missile integration and final assembly and test.

L&T MBDA Missile Systems Ltd is a key channel for MBDA in delivering the next generation of complex weapons capabilities to the Indian Armed Forces and developing the capabilities of India’s defence industry in the complex weapons sector. L&T MBDA Missile Systems Ltd will again have its own unique stand and will be showcasing a number of products, including SRSAMATGM5 and Exocet MM40 B3.

One of the most exciting examples of this is ATGM5 that will be designed and manufactured in India to meet India’s specific operational requirements. ATGM5 will draw on the next generation technologies of the MMP battlefield anti-tank weapon that already entered service in France. ATGM5 will be a true Indian Designed, Developed and Manufactured (IDDM) product, involving the transfer of next generation key technologies to India, boosting the domestic defence industry sector. A new functional simulator for ATGM5 will make its debut at DEFEXPO 2020.

Exocet MM40 Block 3 is the latest version of the famous Exocet missile family, and includes the replacement of the missile’s traditional rocket motor with a turbojet to extend the range of the system to beyond 200 km, while the missile’s already excellent navigation system has seen further enhancements. As the Indian Armed Forces already operate SM 39, which is part of the Exocet family, it is a logical step to also use Exocet in other operational areas. In doing so, it would provide significant operational, logistics and training advantages. MM40 Exocet Block 3 is being offered by L&T MBDA Missile Systems Ltd in response to India’s RFI for the Medium Range Anti-Ship Missile, and will be present on the stand of L&T MBDA Missile Systems Ltd.

As you would expect, MBDA will be exhibiting a full range of missiles and missile systems portfolio on its own stand that could be of interest to India and other countries across the main defence domains: air, land and sea.

Sea Ceptor is a latest generation all-weather air defence system is of particular interest to the Indian Navy as it is under consideration for its Short Range Surface to Air Missile (SRSAM) requirement. Through the use of new advanced technologies, Sea Ceptor provides complete protection against all known and projected air targets including saturation attacks across 360° simultaneously. Sea Ceptor utilises the CAMM missile that features a next generation all-weather fully active RF-seeker, two-way datalink and soft-vertical launch system to provide a step-change in performance compared with previous generation systems.

MICA is being delivered for the IAF’s Mirage 2000 upgrade. It is also a weapon system closely associated with the Rafale. Showcased on MBDA’s stand, this is 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 effective countermeasures.

ASRAAM is being delivered to the IAF as its New Generation Close Combat Missile programme. 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. ASRAAM will arm the IAF’s upgraded Jaguar fleet, and potentially other IAF platforms.

METEOR is MBDA’s revolutionary ramjet powered and network-enabled beyond visual range air-to- air missile, which is widely recognised as a game changer for air combat. 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 several times greater than any other existing or planned BVR weapons. Meteor is a six- European nation programme that will provide the key future BVR air-to-air armament for Europe’s new generation of combat platforms. The Indian Air Force is receiving this unrivalled system on its new Rafale aircraft.

Deep strike is a major requirement for a modern air force. The ability to deliver precision strike against high value targets such as well protected control bunkers/centres, key infrastructures and military installations from a safe stand-off distance is crucial in the early days of a conflict as was shown in Iraq and Libya. At DEFEXPO 2020, MBDA is displaying SCALP that is being delivered to India for the Indian Air Force’s new Rafale aircraft, where it will provide game changing deep strike capabilities. SCALP has proved itself unerring with its unmatched ability to combine very long range with devastating target effect on even the most hardened of military infrastructure during combat operations.

The Mistral ATAM air-to-air missile launcher has been delivered to India to equip the ALH and LCH. On the ALH, the system is based on two launchers each deploying two MBDA air-to-air MISTRAL missiles. Given the wide range of roles that these helicopters will have to undertake, MISTRAL will provide the helicopter’s crew with a weapon that is not only easy to use but one that can be operated in the whole flight envelope from nap of the earth to 15,000ft and at flight speeds from hovering to up to 200 knots. The same system has already been successfully integrated on the LCH platform also manufactured by HAL. Mistral has proven itself a major success story with a 96% success rate in all firings. MBDA will exhibit at DEFEXPO 2020 this very high-performing man portable air defence system (MANPADS) that has already performed exceptionally well in firing evaluation trials for India, more than meeting India’s operational requirements and what was demanded of the missile system in mountain, desert and maritime conditions. As well as the operational advantages of the Mistral missile, there are major industrial advantages being offered if Mistral is selected for India’s VSHORAD requirement, with the missile to be fully manufactured under license in India, under a similar arrangement as for the highly successful production of MILAN in India. As Mistral has already been selected and integrated into the ATAM helicopter launch system for India’s helicopters (namely ALH and LCH), operating Mistral as a MANPADS system will offer major logistics and stock management advantages.

EXOCET probably ranks as the world’s best known anti-ship missile. It is known in India where the submarine variant, SM39, has been delivered to the Indian Navy to arm its Scorpene submarines (Project 75). The AM39 version can be launched from Maritime Patrol Aircraft, strike fighters such as the Rafale as well as medium to heavyweight helicopters. Features such as low signature, sea- skimming flight at very low altitudes, late seeker activation, enhanced target discrimination and ECCM combine to make this a redoubtable weapon indeed. In its Block2 Mod2 latest evolution it is now fully compliant with the latest generation of aircraft platforms. The MM40 Block 3 variant within the EXOCET family is a 200+ km class weapon suitable for launch from ships or from coastal batteries. Already in service, this latest generation EXOCET features 3D waypoints, low sea-skimming flight profile and the ability to strike coastal land targets as well as ships.

MARTE is a family of fixed and rotary wing and ship-launched anti-ship missile weapon systems designed to meet operational requirements in complex littoral environments and blue water scenarios. At DEFEXPO 2020, MBDA is displaying MARTE ER, the latest addition to the family. The high sub-sonic MARTE ER is equipped with a turbo-jet engine giving it a range of well over 120 km, thus enabling it to engage enemy vessels well over the horizon. Other enhancements include an optimized terminal guidance system and 4D waypoints including altitude and time for simultaneous time on target attack. MARTE ER offers rotary and fixed wing aircraft, ships and land based coastal defence systems a significant operational advantage

MBDA will also be displaying its NCM (Naval Cruise Missile). This very long-range surface attack stand-off cruise missile is designed to attack deep into enemy territory. Given its range, it will provide navies and surface and sub-surface vessels with the ability to maintain a prolonged dissuasive force in theatre unlike an aircraft launched missile. Drawing on elements of the combat-proven SCALP/Storm Shadow and weighing some 1,400 kg with an overall length of around 6.50m and a diameter of 0.5m, NCM offers destructive power against key infrastructure targets. Maximum precision and minimum collateral damages are assured thanks to the weapon’s guidance system which combines inertial guidance, terrain matching, and GPS with an imaging infrared seeker to achieve metric accuracies in the terminal phase. The missile has already been tested for both surface ship and submarine launch (vertically launched for the former and via the torpedo tubes for the latter with the submarine version housed in a special sea to air transition container). Surface ship operational capability was declared in May 2015 after a series of test firings had been successfully completed.

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