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‘The missiles in MBDA’s air-launched weapons portfolio feature the latest technologies allowing the pilot to truly maximise the capabilities of his aircraft’
Loic PiedevachePresident, MBDA India, Loïc Piedevache

What are the latest developments with regards to the air-to-air missiles in MBDA’s portfolio?
Both Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) and MICA (Missile d’Interception, de Combat et d’Autodéfense) have registered recent successes with the IAF, for the Jaguar and the Mirage 2000 upgrades respectively. So, of course, we are both delighted and exceptionally proud that India has once again put its trust into the air-to-air missile capabilities that MBDA can provide.

MBDA has developed a worldwide reputation for its ability to lead international cooperative programmes. The six-nation Meteor programme, contracted to MBDA some years ago, is serving to prove just how justified that reputation is. Meteor represents a quantum leap in air-to-air capability and is now being delivered to the partner nations for the Rafale, Eurofighter and Gripen aircraft. Focusing on Rafale, the integration is fully contracted and is progressing according to schedule with a highly successful guided firing of the missile carried out very recently.

Today’s combat aircraft feature outstanding sensors with regards to radar, Infra-Red (IR) sensors and Helmet Mounted Display and Sight (HMDS). How are modern missiles capable of making use of all the information from these sensors?
Situational awareness is the all-important requirement for the modern combat pilot, who needs to be fed with constant information updates through the aircraft’s sensors about his aircraft’s location in relation to his mission objective, his home base, and other aircraft, friend and foe with whom he is sharing the airspace.

Similarly, the pilot needs to include his missile’s capabilities into this overall picture. The missiles in MBDA’s air-launched weapons portfolio feature the latest technologies allowing the pilot to truly maximise the capabilities of his aircraft, its sensors and his helmet display. For example, MBDA has worked very closely with the helmet suppliers with regard to the IAF’s Jaguar upgrade which will see this aircraft equipped with ASRAAM to provide the optimum self-defence capability.

Latest combat platforms are able to maximise the capability of today’s modern missiles like MICA and ASRAAM. Using the aircraft’s sensors to acquire, track and lock on to the target, the missile can be fired passively to maintain the element of surprise. Similarly, through target data sharing between aircraft, missiles can be launched in passive mode and with target data provided by a second aircraft so that the target is not aware until too late that it is under attack. Using either the launch aircraft’s or a partner aircraft’s sensors also allows for example, an over the shoulder, LOAL shot to deal with a threat from the rear.

What are the key features of the MICA and ASRAAM that make them maintenance and storage friendly?
Today’s customers expect ever longer service life and ever greater intervals between in-life maintenance schedules for their missiles. Though the number of flight hours that MBDA guarantees its customers regarding ordered missiles is highly confidential, we can say that both MICA and ASRAAM have been designed with componentry featuring the latest, state-of-the-art technology to ensure that these products exceed the most demanding of in-service life requirements. MBDA offers its customers extensive customised support packages to maximise the in-service life of their missiles and can offer advice on how to best manage their stockpiles in terms of storage and handling conditions.


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