The Indian Air Force and MBDA

The Meteor BVRAAM

MBDA has been delivering battle-winning capabilities to the Indian Air Force and collaborating with Indian industry for over 50 years. Throughout this history, there have been two guiding principles: to provide the very best technologies to the Indian Air Force, and to work in true partnership in support of the Indian Defence Industry. Fitting perfectly with our long-term strategy is the ‘Make in India’ programme, to which we are fully committed.

The Indian Air Force is receiving the ramjet powered and network-enabled Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile from MBDA. This next generation missile is widely recognised as a game changer for air combat, and will provide the Indian Air Force with an unrivalled air dominance capability. 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 more than three times greater than any other existing or planned BVR weapons.

Other examples of technological edge equipping the Indian Air Force include the MICA and ASRAAM within visual range (or dogfighting) missiles. 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. Its ability to fly out to BVR in passive mode before the seeker locks on in the final stages of the end game has earned it the nickname “silent killer” as the target has little time to react or to deploy effective countermeasures. Possessing both infrared and radar-guided versions also makes MICA highly countermeasure resistant and therefore highly effective

ASRAAM is providing the IAF’s Jaguar fleet with a step-change in air combat performance. 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. These and other technologies make the Indian Armed Forces a proud equal to any modern force in the world.

Industrial partnership is of equal importance though, given the importance of sovereign industrial defence capability. MBDA has been assisting the development of sovereign Indian missile industry, both public and private, for over 50 years. Partnerships MBDA has formed with Indian industry have seen over 40,000 missiles of the MILAN family produced in India – a noteworthy and on-going success. Indian industry is now supplying key components for both MICA and ASRAAM missiles. 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 Mistral ATAM system has been successfully integrated on the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and final integration is being done on the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH). Utilisation of the Mistral missile on India’s helicopter platforms also 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.

Loïc Piedevache, Country Head, India, MBDA Group