For both Hawk and Gripen we will also be exhibiting potential armaments, including the high-precision Brimstone strike weapon
What key technologies and systems would you be showcasing at DefExpo 2018?
MBDA is looking forward to another very exciting and fruitful DefExpo, in line with our longstanding partnership strategy with India. As you would expect, MBDA will be exhibiting a full range of our missiles and missile systems portfolio that could be of interest to India across the main defence domains: air, land and sea.
What aspect of your business is your primary focus at this show, and why?
This DefExpo will also be particularly exciting as it will be the first time L&T MBDA Missile Systems Ltd, the Joint Venture (JV) we formed with Larsen and Toubro in 2017, will exhibit at DefExpo. On this stand, the JV will be showcasing a number of products, including ATGM5 and Exocet MM40 B3. Drawing on the next generation technologies of the MMP battlefield anti-tank weapon that recently entered service in France, ATGM5 will be designed and manufactured in India to meet India’s specific operational requirements. It will be a true Indian Designed, Developed and Manufactured (IDDM) product, involving the transfer of next generation key technologies to India, boosting the Indian defence industry sector.
In the Air domain, MBDA will be exhibiting MICA, which is an integral part of the Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) Mirage 2000 upgrade programme and is included in the IAF’s suite of weapons to arm its fleet of Rafale, thereby not only providing operational but also logistics and stock management advantages with the same weapon being fielded across two platforms. We will also exhibit our revolutionary ramjet powered and network-enabled Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile, which is widely recognised as a game changer for air combat. Key to this is Meteor’s throttleable ramjet engine, active radar seeker and datalink that combine to provide unmatched end-game speed and manoeuvrability at greatly extended ranges, resulting in its all-important ‘No-Escape Zone’ being several times greater than any other existing or planned BVR weapons. The IAF is receiving this unrivalled system on its new Rafale aircraft, and, at DefExpo, we will also be showcasing the missile on the Gripen.
India has also purchased MBDA’s ASRAAM air dominance weapon for its New Generation Close Combat Missile programme, and MBDA will be exhibiting ASRAAM on both the initial Jaguar platform, as well as on Gripen and Hawk. With its large rocket motor and clean aerodynamic design ASRAAM has unrivalled speed and resultant aerodynamic manoeuvrability and range, ASRAAM gives it a high kinematic capability that delivers superior end-game performance for within visual range air combat. For both Hawk and Gripen we will also be exhibiting other potential armaments, including the high-precision Brimstone strike weapon – which would give these, or other platforms, an exceptional ability to engage massed armoured formations or conduct pinpoint attacks in collaterally constrained environments. For long-range strike we will also exhibit our SmartGlider weapon family that is optimised to counter anti-access strategies and other emerging battlespace threats. SmartGlider forms a family of all-up-round glider weapons, with folding wings and a range of over 100 km allowing the combat platform to stay at safe distance from the enemy defences. For ground and naval air defence we are exhibiting our VL MICA and Sea Ceptor systems, which befitting MBDA’s commonality, adapt and re-use product strategy share many similarities with the air launched MICA and ASRAAM weapon systems already operated by India – something that can provide further logistical advantages to the Indian armed forces. Both VL MICA and Sea Ceptor are extremely high-performing air defence systems capable of defeating the most challenging of air threats, and the two systems principally differ in their launch mechanism. VL MICA utilises a traditional ‘hot’ launch, while Sea Ceptor uses a ‘soft’ launch technology that sees the missile ejected vertically into the air before the missile’s rocket motor ignites.
MBDA will also exhibit its high-performing Mistral man portable air defence system (MANPADS) which has already performed exceptionally well in firing evaluation trials for India, more than meeting what was demanded of the missile system in mountain, desert and maritime conditions. As well as the operational advantages of the Mistral missile, there are major industrial advantages being offered if Mistral is selected for India’s VSHORAD requirement, with the missile to be fully manufactured under license in India, under a similar arrangement as for the highly successful production of MILAN in India. As Mistral has already been selected and integrated into the ATAM helicopter launch system for India helicopters (namely ALH and LCH), operating Mistral as a MANPADS system offers major logistics and stock management advantages.