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Marte ER is Also Being Discussed With India as a Highly Versatile System Suitable for Launch from Helicopters, MPA and Surface Platforms
President India, MBDA, Loïc Piedevache

Loïc Piedevache Despite the possibility of Maitri programme, the navy has sent a RFI to Indian and global vendors for their SRSAM requirements. How do you see this move? Have you responded to the navy’s RFI?
Maitri or short range surface to air missile (SRSAM), a joint India-France programme, continues to be just as relevant as ever for the Indian Navy’s requirements, it meets the requirements of the Request for Information (RFI) you mention. Given the amount of work that has taken place, SRSAM is also ready to proceed now to provide the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force (IAF) with a world leading, latest generation air defence capability.

Given the Indian government’s avowed determination to advance its ‘Make in India’ policy concerning defence procurement, it needs to be stressed just how important this project continues to be, not just for the operational advantages that it will give to India’s armed forces but also for the long-term industrial advantages that will accrue – for India’s large Defence Public Sector Units (DPSUs) as well as a large number of private sector companies including small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the technology sector.

Clearly, this will also benefit India’s own future indigenous capability to develop and produce new generations of advanced guided weaponry. SRSAM also offers significant export potential. MBDA has no comparable product in its portfolio, so, it will be committed to using its global commercial spread in the promotion of SRSAM to armed forces around the world, to a market that we conservatively estimate represents somewhere in the region of Rs 45,000 crore.

However, for the Indian Navy the most important issues are, of course, neither political nor commercial. The navy is more concerned about operational capability and timeframe. Here again SRSAM ticks the box. What we have been working on with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is a new generation weapon, featuring state-of-the-art seeker technology to provide a vertical launch, 360 degree defence capability against an unrivalled target set including fast combat jets, helicopters, subsonic and supersonic cruise and sea-skimming anti-ship missiles. SRSAM is the perfect choice for the navy. It ticks all the boxes – technology, operational capability, value for money, timescale…and it is ‘Made In India’. As a result, despite the delay, and despite the RFI referred to in the question, MBDA is confident that a positive and logical decision regarding SRSAM should be forthcoming very soon.

What opportunities do you see in the P-75(I) programme?
Once a Request for Proposal (RFP) for P75(I) has been issued, we would be delighted to offer the Indian Navy all the advantages associated with the Exocet-SM39, not to mention those linked to inventory management given that it will already be deployed as part of the navy’s arsenal.

What is the update on the Exocet anti-ship missile programme? How many units have you delivered to the Indian Navy already? What services will you be providing along with the equipment?
As you know, we are supplying the submarine-launched Exocet SM39 for the Indian Navy’s Scorpene. Regarding details of quantities, of course, that has to remain customer confidential. In terms of additional services, MBDA has always prided itself on the tailored customer support and service it provides with its products – this ranges from the simple provision of documentation to specific service support right up to working with the customer on inventory management.

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