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APRIL 2016 ISSUE


'Maitri is Very Much a Priority Project and we are Still Offering all the Performance and Transfer of Technology Advantages Associated with the Project in the Shape of a Short Range Naval Air Defence Missile'
Country Head, MBDA, Loïc Piedvache
 

Loïc Piedvache What emerging opportunities do you see in the Indian market, across services?
MBDA has latest generation systems that we are either directly offering within an active campaign or otherwise discussing with the three branches of the Indian armed forces. The Indian Navy is clearly looking at expansion with a number of ship building projects either underway or being planned. We have been promoting the industrial and operational advantages of short range surface-to-air missile (SRSAM) for quite some time and should a decision be made, MBDA and India could advance very quickly to an advanced technology, short range naval air defence to provide the necessary levels of protection for the navy’s ships.

Of course, the IAF is looking to bring its operational combat jet fleet up to the very latest standards and with Rafale on the horizon, MBDA has a world-leading suite of air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons that it can offer.

What are the major challenges while doing business here in India in the defence sector? Each country we operate in has its own very particular challenges and India is no exception. The government has recognised the obstacles that have traditionally made business complicated in the past and is steadily removing these through its new DPP initiatives which we welcome wholeheartedly.

As a foreign company, what is your take on ‘Make in India’? How do you plan to utilise the research and manufacturing capabilities of India while producing latest missile technologies?
For a major world economy like India, a country facing a number of threats on its borders and areas of territorial sovereignty and economic interest, a strong defence capability backed by a strong sovereign defence industry, infrastructure is a must. ‘Make in India’ is, therefore, both logical and a priority which MBDA fully supports and has been actively working towards for many years. In this respect we are actively setting up a country wide network of industrial partners, both within the defence public sector undertakings (DPSUs) and private sector. We are also discussing cooperation projects such as SRSAM, MMP and Mistral which will provide a boost to ‘Make in India’ should they take off.

Which MBDA missiles will be the part of Rafale’s weapon suite?
This is, of course, for the Indian Air Force (IAF) to decide. MBDA is able to offer a full suite of air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles already associated and integrated with this world-leading combat jet.

In the area of air defence, what missile systems are on offer for the Indian forces?
There is the well-known SRSAM project which is now being discussed with the Indian Navy. The VSHORAD campaign has been ongoing for quite some time and our Mistral MANPADS system has performed very well in the firing evaluation trials before the Indian customer. In both cases we are discussing much more than just missile or system capability. We are talking about transfer of technology and long-term industrial partnership.

 
 
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