What key technologies and systems would you be showcasing at DefExpo 2016?
We will be showcasing a wide range of products at DefExpo 2016 to underline MBDA’s ability to offer highly advanced, modern guided missiles and missile systems to all three of India’s armed forces. With a lot of interest bound to be focussed around the state of play regarding the IAF’s planned fleet of Rafale combat jets, we will of course be displaying the full weapon suite, covering air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, associated with the aircraft.
The IAF’s Jaguar is set to be equipped with the ASRAAM short range air-to-air missile which we will be displaying. A network of industrial partners for the offset element has already been established so this should also be a talking point. Much has been written of MBDA’s Brimstone air-to-surface weapon’s successful deployment in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and, most recently, in Syria. What has been written in the press and stated at both political and military level, particularly in the UK and the USA, describes a dual mode seeker missile that is totally unique in its capability envelope.
We are currently in discussions with the Indian Navy regarding the much talked about SRSAM, short range surface to air missile so this will also be a feature, especially as it forms a key aspect of our long term planned partnership strategy with the Indian defence industry. Still in the naval domain we will be displaying the Marte ER anti-ship missile. For the first time in India, we will be displaying the Naval Cruise Missile (NCM), which is well-advanced in its development for the French Navy. With its exceptionally long range and ability to provide stand-off ships and hidden submersed submarines with a highly effective dissuasive capability and strike force against targets well inland, the model of this missile is sure to attract a fair deal of interest on the stand. Completing the naval line up will of course be the Exocet family of air, surface and submarine launched anti-ship missiles.
Returning to the topic of partnership, we are discussing a fifth generation anti-tank guided missile cooperation project with India based on the MMP weapon which will be entering into service with the French army next year. MMP will be on the stand and we will be discussing how its unmatched features and capabilities could be adapted into a Make in India weapon totally designed to meet India’s very specific requirements.
MMP is the Milan replacement for France and of course Milan is well-known in India where it has been manufactured under license by BDL for some 40 years or so. This industrial relationship has worked extremely well and is one that could extend to the highly successful Mistral missile. Already scheduled for the ATAM helicopter launch system, Mistral is the all-weather missile in MBDA’s MANPADS offer for India’s VSHORAD competition. With test-firings having already taken place, the competition is well advanced so the full Mistral MANPADS system will be prominently displayed.
PARS 3LR and Mistral ATAM will be displayed linked to the various light helicopters that it is being associated with in our on-going discussions.
What aspect of your business is your primary focus at this show, and why?
Partnership, commitment to Make in India and transfer of technology, these are the main themes that we hope visitors to the MBDA stand will take away with them. These are the cornerstones of our Indian strategy and go way beyond our product sales campaigns.
What are your expectations from the show?
I should imagine like all exhibitors, we are interested to see what the effect of the venue change will have on visitor numbers and, most importantly, visitor quality. DefExpo has always featured as an important date on the MBDA international calendar because it has always given us the opportunity of meeting not only the key decision makers but also the end users and, very importantly, existing and potential industrial partners both large and small, private and public. If the Goa produces the same results as in previous years then our expectations and hopes would be satisfied.