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The Long and Short of It

The Indian Navy is spoilt for choice with indigenous as well as foreign missiles and weapon systems

Dilip Kumar Mekala

Indian Navy’s plan to improve its offensive capabilities is progressing well with the induction of various missiles and weapon systems. While many of the systems are made in the country, several others are being acquired by foreign original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

Recently, Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems was selected by the Indian Navy to support upgradation of two Shishumar class submarines with integration of the latest sensors and weapons, including Boeing’s Harpoon Block II anti-ship missile. Harpoon is acquired through the government-to-government foreign military sales (FMS) route. According to the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency that approves major arms sales to friendly countries, 12 UGM-84L Harpoon Block II encapsulated missiles, 10 UTM-84L Harpoon encapsulated training missiles, two encapsulated Harpoon certification training vehicles and associated support equipment are to be acquired at an estimated cost of USD 200 million.

The US-made cruise has also been fitted onto the navy’s P-8I Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance (LRMR) and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) platform. The Harpoon has had an exceptionally long career, the 40th anniversary of the Harpoon Missile System took place in 2011. Boeing has delivered more than 7,300 Harpoon and Harpoon Block II missiles for the US Navy and in excess of 30 international military customers across all variants of the cruise missile. The company obtained its first Harpoon Block II contract in 1998, with the first missile delivered in 2001.

MBDA successfully completed the deliveries of Exocet anti-ship missiles to the Indian Navy. “We finished deliveries of Exocet SM39, and now we are providing technical assistance in Mumbai for two years,” said Loïc Piedevache, MBDA country head – India. Exocet is one of the most recognised anti-ship missiles with an active radar seeker and is deployed by many navies around the world. The Indian Navy has included the Exocet SM39 as part of its inventory to equip its new fleet of Scorpene submarines. It is launched from the torpedo tubes enclosed in a Véhicule Sous Marin (VSM). A self-propelled and guided container, the VSM, manoeuvres so as not to reveal the position of the submarine before surfacing. Once in the air, the Exocet missile leaves the VSM and proceeds to the target like a normal surface variant of the missile. SM39 missiles have a range of 50 km.

MBDA responds to an Indian Navy tender with its coastal battery solution that can fire Exocet MM40 Block 3 missiles
MBDA responds to an Indian Navy tender with its coastal battery solution that can fire Exocet MM40 Block 3 missiles

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