Interview | Country Head, MBDA Group, India, Loïc Piedevache

L&T MBDA Missile Systems Ltd will be exhibiting for the first time at DefExpo 2018 with its own stand and will showcase products that we are offering to Indian armed forces through this JV

Country Head, MBDA Group, India, Loïc PiedevacheA lot of rumours are being circulated about the VSHORAD programme, including speculation about poor integration of Mistral missile with the radar. What is happening on the programme?

Mistral performed exceptionally well in the firing evaluation trials for India, more than meeting India’s operational requirements and what was demanded of the missile system in mountain, desert and maritime conditions. Our system performed without any issue and was found fully compliant technically and operationally.

 

You have offered license-production of Mistral. Is this the requirement of the VSHORAD programme? Will this be undertaken by your joint venture with L&T or are you proposing technology transfer to a defence public sector undertaking as in the case of Milan?

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’s helicopters (namely ALH and LCH), operating Mistral as a MANPADS system will offer major logistics and stock management advantages. Mistral will be manufactured in India by the Production Agency designated in the request for proposal (RFP).



 

It has been two years since the JV with L&T was announced. What have been the key milestones on this journey so far?

L&T MBDA Missile Systems Ltd is a key channel for delivering the next generation of complex weapons capabilities to the Indian armed forces and developing the capabilities of India’s defence industry in the complex weapons sector. Through L&T MBDA Missile Systems Ltd we are looking to set up a missile systems plant in India capable of significant levels of production, not only in terms of quantity but also regarding technology of the highest level. The JV has already identified several concrete projects on which our teams are working actively. This includes, among others, ATGM5 and Medium Range Anti-Ship Missile. L&T MBDA Missile Systems Ltd will be exhibiting for the first time at DefExpo 2018 with its own stand and will showcase products that we are offering to Indian armed forces through this JV.

 

Do you envisage this JV working on non-Indian programmes as well?

At this stage our initial focus is on successfully delivering ‘Make in India’ and IDDM projects.

 

Specific to the Indian Navy, what is the status of your current and potential programmes?

We have recently responded to two requests for information (RFIs) for the Indian Navy with MM40 Exocet Block 3 for the Indian Navy’s Medium Range Anti-Ship Missile requirement and, for SRSAM, we have offered both our VL MICA and Sea Ceptor systems.

 

Where does the SRSAM with DRDO stand today?

We are engaged with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on a number of projects and initiatives. For short range surface to air missile (SRSAM), we understand that the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Army will fulfil their SRSAM requirement with Akash, while the Indian Navy will fulfil its SRSAM requirement through an international competition in which we will offer our VL MICA and Sea Ceptor systems. Of course, we would also be happy to update our original SRSAM offer if requested by the Indian ministry of defence (MoD) or DRDO.

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