New Delhi. When Indian  Ministry of Defence signed a £250 million ($428 million) contract with MBDA to equip the Jaguar strike aircraft which is under an upgrade,  with ASRAAM short-range air-to-air missile, thinks seem to be moving just on the right track for the European missile major MBDA.

This  was in succession   to a previous order for 493 Mica missiles to replace life-expired Matra S-530D and Magic-II missiles as part of an Indian air force Mirage 2000 upgrade. Worth  almost €1 billion ($1.3 billion), the weapons will be delivered between 2015 and 2019.              

A long-term strategic partner, MBDA wants to be seen as an Indian player and not merely as a buyer-seller associate in India. For the first time the missile major has decided  to produce a brand new product (SR-SAM) outside the European countries. From co-designing and co-developing, MBDA will also transfer the technology. It is strategically increasing its footprint in the Indian market keeping in mind India’s ever-increasing demand and a futuristic defence acquisition plan.

MBDA  has always described India as the nation of choice and partnership is the key word that represents their  strategy and long-term plan for India. India has a lot to offer in terms of indigenous skills, in engineering, in electronics as well as software development, for MBDA  the future will see combined teams, either here in India or in Europe or both, working to meet the needs of the respective domestic customers as well as the global export market.

Milan MBDA’s  close combat support weapon, which is used by armies around the world, is the missile which is manufactured under licence by BDL in India, a cooperation that goes back some 30 years and more.

The Mistral missile, which features in a number of land and sea air defence systems, has been selected by  India to provide the Dhruv helicopter with its air-to-air self defence capability.
The anti-ship missile  Exocet will be on India’s Scorpene submarine with the SM39 variant and new variants of the AM39 for air-launch and the MM40 Block 3 for surface to- surface missions are currently being marketed. The latter is the latest addition to the Exocet family and features a doubled range out to 180 km as well as a littoral land attack capability.

Recognizing the need at platoon or company level for a precision weapon capable of striking a range of potentially time-sensitive ground targets when there might be an absence of readily available air-support, where man-in-the-loop control is required because of the complex nature of the battlefield and where the target might only make fleeting appearances before taking cover, India has issued an RFP (Request For Proposals) for a loitering munition. MBDA’s Fire Shadow is  being considered for this need.

With India’s step ahead to fulfill its needs to have state-of-the-art weapons, MBDA is matching steps with Prime Minister’s Make-in-India programme, despite that it has always been a part of made in India.