For the Indian Navy, MAITRI Will Provide a Highly Effective, Vertically Launched Point Defence System to Protect Against a Wide Range of Air Threats’
Country Head, India, MBDA, Loïc Piedevache
Loïc PiedevacheThere has been a lot of talk about the increase in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and co-production with foreign manufacturers in the Indian defence sector. What is your opinion on it?
There has been a lot of talk and even impetus in raising the FDI cap from 26 per cent. It’s an important issue and MBDA understands India’s concerns about security, sovereignty and protecting the Indian defence industry. We need to see how this new policy develops in reality but I would certainly be happy to see the level increased. I believe more flexibility will be a positive step for India as it has the potential for encouraging more foreign investment which will not only bring into India the skills and technology that would otherwise take much longer to acquire, it will also introduce a degree of competition which would serve to raise standards all around.

Tell us about the MAITRI missile system. How is the programme advancing and what stage is it currently at? Have you started the production of these missiles for the three services?
I have touched on SR-SAM or MAITRI as it is often referred to above. As you know this co-development project, when the green light is given to proceed, will see MBDA supporting the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) who will be the design lead. This support will see us sharing with the DRDO the highest levels of technology that have made MBDA a global leader in the area of surface to air technology.

As you know, the all-weather, high performance SR-SAM missile is a requirement for the IAF as well as the Indian Navy, potentially for the Indian Army, too, which has a similar need. For the Indian Navy, MAITRI will provide a highly effective, vertically launched point defence system to protect against a wide range of air threats, from combat jets to anti-ship missiles.

Are you looking at further opportunities to co-develop and co-produce with the Indian companies? Are there any such plans in the pipeline (other than MAITRI)?
Co-development and co-production are both aspects that we see as fundamental to our wider strategy in India. I have stressed many times that we are intent on moving beyond a traditional buyer-seller relationship.

Partnership and cooperation are really at the core of what we are aiming at, this is our long-term goal. MBDA has the support of its national governments with regard to transfer of technology. With this we don’t mean simply sharing or passing over a few drawings and production specifications, when we refer to technology transfer we also mean sharing the experience and knowledge, the know-how that we have gained over many years and over many complex projects.

We have already established good contacts within Indian industry, not only with Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) but beyond. Some of this is already being put into practice with an Indian partner having already developed a twin launcher solution for the PARS 3 LR that we are offering for the Rudra.
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