By Invitation | Celebrating India

MBDA understands the importance of operational capability and sovereignty to the IAF

Ludovic DumontLudovic Dumont

MBDA celebrates India’s Air Force Day 2023 MBDA is proud to celebrate Air Force Day 2023 in India, and to be a key industrial partner for the IAF providing the air force with its chosen equipment to protect India’s skies.

The Indian Air Force throughout its history has been a strong user of MBDA’s missile systems on a number of different aircraft types. Today the IAF’s latest aircraft Rafale fields a highly potent suite of weapons from MBDA. Unquestionably the most famous is the Meteor, the ramjet powered and network-enabled beyond visual range air-to-air missile that is widely recognised as a game changer for air combat. Meteor’s throttleable ramjet engine provides sustained high-supersonic power, making it the only missile able to chase down manoeuvring enemies at even the longest of ranges.

No less game-changing for the IAF is the SCALP stealthy air-launched cruise missile that also forms part of the Rafale weapons package. This potent weapon gives the IAF a flexible tool to conduct deep strike missions at long ranges against even the most protected of hostile targets. The combat proven effectiveness of SCALP in such scenarios is unrivalled.

Another MBDA weapon, MICA provides both the Rafale and the newly upgraded IAF Mirage 2000 aircraft with a uniquely flexible approach to air combat. MICA is the only missile in the world featuring two interoperable seekers (active radar and imaging infrared) makes MICA highly countermeasure resistant and therefore highly effective.

With a strong reputation as a reliable partner that has supported the Indian Air Force for over 50 years, European missile firm MBDA understands the importance of operational capability and sovereignty to the IAF. For these reasons, the company has so strongly committed to Make in India to deliver both industrial sovereignty and the best of military equipment to India.

Indian firms now supply key components for key new missiles that are enhancing the combat power of the IAF. For example by Indian industry today to extensive manufacturing of 15 major subassemblies of MICA missile covering various complex technologies such as mechanical, electrical, electromechanical and pyrotechnic items. MBDA continues to deepen its relationship with Indian industry, as seen by the recent formation of a joint venture with long-standing partner Larsen & Toubro to deliver a series of important missile programmes under the Make in India category.

The IAF is also getting a major boost with the addition of the ASRAAM as its Next Generation Close Combat Missile. MBDA and its longstanding Indian partner BDL are establishing a new facility in Hyderabad to assemble and test this potent air combat missile. 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. MBDA’s ASRAAM missiles are significantly enhancing the battle capability India’s Jaguar bombers, giving them unrivalled self-protection ability and enhanced ability to penetrate hostile airspace. This highly capable weapon is also set to be fielded by Indian’s Tejas LCA Mk1A and could also boost the combat capability of other IAF aircraft.

Key to many of MBDA’s offerings are their ability to be fitted to multiple platforms. By utilising the same weapon across different platforms, not only do extra aircraft benefit from these capabilities, but there are also major cost savings and operational benefits to be found in maintaining common equipment stockpiles, not to mention the training and logistics benefits. For example, utilisation of the Mistral missile on India’s helicopter platforms provides a bridge to their use in a ground based VSHORAD role, where the missile is fully compliant with India’s requirements and outperforms the capabilities of its rivals.

(The writer is Country Head MBDA & MBDA India General Delegate)


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