Tuesday, January 18, 2011

MBDA to display missiles for Indian Armed Forces at Aero India 2011

MBDA is bringing in missile power at the Aero India 2011. Proposed in the frame of Mirage 2000 upgrade program, MICA air-to-air missile will also be displayed on MBDA stall. MICA is the only missile in the world featuring two interoperable seekers (active radar and imaging infrared) to cover the spectrum from close-in dogfight to long beyond visual range. It is sometimes referred to as the silent interceptor as it is extremely hard to defend against.

For the Indian Air Force MMRCA missile solutions, MBDA is displaying Meteor, Dual Mode Brimstone, Taurus KEPD 350 and SCALP/Storm Shadow. MBDA is offering them for the three European aircraft options lined up for the IAF’s MMRCA competition, Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon and Gripen.

MBDA says that Meteor, if procured, the IAF will benefit from a performance that will ensure launch aircraft survivability while minimising missile usage and, therefore, whole life cost.

The Dual Mode Brimstone is MBDA’s most recent developments and a key UK RAF weapon currently being deployed operationally in theatre in conditions not dissimilar to those that the IAF would most likely have to operate in. DMB is the only weapon currently available that can engage fast moving land and sea targets with high precision. Capable of engaging a wide variety of target types and operating safely and effectively in the complex littoral area, DMB offers a major operational advantage in being able to deal with the swarming FIAC (Fast Inshore Attack Craft) threats. The Eurofighter Typhoon equipped with DMB has a distinct advantage over helicopters as it can rapidly confront a threat which could be engaged asymmetrically optimising the effectiveness. Significantly, DMB has been used with the Litening pod designator which is already in service with the IAF.

As for Deep Strike operations, MBDA has two cruise missiles to offer for the MMRCA programme. Taurus KEPD 350 for the Eurofighter Typhoon and Gripen and SCALP/Storm Shadow for the Rafale. Both weapon systems are in service and have proven their unerring and unmatched ability to fulfil and indeed exceed the requirements stipulated by the IAF in terms of range, target effect and CEP (Circular Error Probable).

For ALH DHRUV and LCH helicopters, MBDA is offering PARS 3. This fire and forget system developed for Germany’s Tiger helicopter is capable of targeting and defeating a wide range of mobile and stationary ground targets from latest generation armour-protected vehicles to bunkers with pinpoint accuracy. For pilot safety, the missiles, once launched, navigate autonomously to their respective targets without requiring further input from the gunner thereby allowing the helicopter to quit its position should there be a danger. Pars 3 on the Tiger features a four-missile launcher. However, India prefers a twin variant and in this respect MBDA has been sourcing an Indian defence industry partner to develop this alternative design. India has asked for trials of the system. With these trials due soon, Aero India will be an important shop window for this system.

For MRH HELICOPTER, MBDA is offering MARTE ER. Marte ER has already been integrated and qualified on the medium-range NH90 helicopter. Marte ER adds a turbo-engine motor that takes the missile’s range out to over 100km. With India actively looking for a MRH (medium range helicopter) capabilities, Marte ER should be a major talking point during the show.

MBDA is also offering ASRAAM for JAGUAR Upgrade. The Jaguars of the IAF are undergoing upgrades to extend their life through to the end of the decade. An important part of this upgrade will depend on the choice of self-protection air-to-air missiles to replace the currently deployed R550 Magic. There is space for only one such weapon on the Jaguar’s overwing station and MBDA’s ASRAAM (already in service with the UK and Australian air forces) would provide an optimum solution given its ability to provide short to medium range protection passively. Overwing pylons call for quick missile separation to avoid contact with the aircraft’s wing. ASRAAM is the fastest, lowest drag SRAAM weapon on the market. This speed not only provides safe separation, it also guarantees “first shot first kill” to avoid getting involved in a dogfight. As the Jaguar is a low-flying aircraft, a threat could well come from a higher altitude. ASRAAM again offers a major advantage here in its unmatched “snap-up” capability, the missile’s ability to rapidly divert upwards once fired.

MBDA will also be promoting its Fire Shadow loitering munitions, the family of Exocet anti-ship weapons as well as Europe’s most significant anti-air defence missile development, namely Aster. Similarly the Milan anti-armour weapon (produced by BDL) will be on display as evidence of over 30 years of industrial partnership between MBDA and India.

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