MBDA, the maker of the Rafale’s game-changing weaponry, is showcasing its Make in India commitments during Aero India 2021 at Stand B3.4 in Hall B. MBDA will be exhibiting a full range of missiles and missile systems designed to provide next generation air combat capabilities, including air dominance, strike and maritime engagement, for the Indian Air Force.
Notably MBDA’s stand in Hall B 3.4 features a display wall of missile system components Made in India by the company’s large Indian industrial ecosystem. Also exhibiting in Hall B is L&T MBDA Missile Systems Ltd, MBDA’s joint venture with Larsen & Toubro, which will be displaying the systems it has offered to the Indian Armed Forces as well as its work on MICA missile launchers for the Indian Air Force’s new Rafale fighter aircraft.
MBDA is not new to partnership with the Indian Armed Forces and Indian industry, indeed it 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. The company then is fully committed to the ‘Make in India’ programme, which aligns with MBDA’s long-term strategy.
METEOR is MBDA’s revolutionary ramjet powered and network-enabled 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. Meteor is a six-European nation programme that will provide the key future BVR air-to-air armament for Europe’s new generation of combat platforms. The Indian Air Force is receiving this unrivalled system on its new Rafale aircraft.
Deep strike is a major requirement for a modern air force. At Aero India 2021, MBDA is displaying SCALP which is being delivered for the Indian Air Force’s Rafale aircraft The ability to deliver precision strike against high value targets such as well protected control bunkers/centres, key infrastructures and military installations from a safe stand-off distance is crucial in the early days of a conflict. SCALP has proved its unerring and unmatched ability to combine very long range with devastating target effect during combat operations.
ASRAAM is being delivered to the IAF as its New Generation Close Combat Missile programme. 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. ASRAAM will arm the IAF’s upgraded Jaguar fleet, and potentially other IAF platforms.
MICA is being delivered for the IAF’s Mirage 2000 upgrade and for Rafale. Showcased on MBDA’s stand, this 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.
MISTRAL ATAM has been delivered to India to equip the HAL weaponised version of the Advanced Light Helicopter, the ALH Rudra. The system is based on two launchers each deploying two MBDA air-to-air Mistral missiles. Given the wide range of roles that the Rudra will have to undertake, ATAM will provide the helicopter’s crew with a weapon that is not only easy to use but one that can be operated in the whole flight envelope from nap of the earth to 15,000ft and at flight speeds from hovering to up to 200 knots. The same system has successfully undergone integration on the LCH platform also manufactured by HAL.
MMP is the only fifth generation anti-tank missile available in the world, and it has been designed for dismounted infantry as well as for integration on combat vehicles. MMP is unique in featuring both fire-and-forget and operator-above-the-loop operation, and being network-enabled MMP can also receive third party target designation for indirect firing scenarios. The technologies pioneered in MMP will be further developed by ATGM5 in India for the specific operational requirements of the Indian Armed Forces.
EXOCET probably ranks as the world’s best known anti-ship missile. It is known in India where the submarine variant, SM39, has been delivered to the Indian Navy to arm its Scorpene submarines (Project 75). The AM39 version can be launched from Maritime Patrol Aircraft, strike fighters such as the Rafale as well as medium to heavyweight helicopters. Features such as low signature, sea-skimming flight at very low altitudes, late seeker activation, enhanced target discrimination and ECCM combine to make this a redoubtable weapon indeed. The MM40 variant within the EXOCET family is suitable for launch from ships or from coastal batteries. Already in service, this latest generation EXOCET features 3D waypoints, low sea-skimming flight profile and the ability to strike coastal land targets as well as ships.
Sea Ceptor is the next-generation, ship-based, all-weather, air defence weapon system. Through the use of new advanced technologies, Sea Ceptor provides complete protection against all known and projected air targets including saturation attacks across 360° simultaneously. Sea Ceptor utilises the CAMM missile that features a next generation all-weather RF-seeker, two-way datalink and soft-vertical launch system to provide a step-change in performance compared with previous generation systems. Sea Ceptor will protect both the host ship and high value units in the local area. The Weapon System has the capability to intercept and thereby neutralise the full range of current and future threats including combat aircraft and the new generation of supersonic anti-ship missiles.
MARTE is a family of fixed and rotary wing and ship-launched anti-ship missile weapon systems designed to meet operational requirements in complex littoral environments and blue water scenarios. At Aero India 2021, MBDA is displaying MARTE ER, the latest addition to the family. The high sub-sonic MARTE ER is equipped with a turbo-jet engine giving it the ability to engage enemy vessels well over the horizon. Other enhancements include an optimized terminal guidance system and 4D waypoints including altitude and time for simultaneous time on target attack. MARTE ER offers rotary and fixed wing aircraft, ships and land based coastal defence systems a significant operational advantage.