Bharat Dynamics, MBDA missiles deal to help indigenous programs in India, says GlobalData

Following the news that Bharat Dynamics Limited has announced to set up a missile production facility in India for ASRAAM missiles;

Tushar M, Defence Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:

“Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) has signed a contract with European multinational arms manufacturer MBDA for setting up a final assembly, integration and test facility in India for ‘Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missiles (ASRAAM). The new facility is expected to commence its operations by 2022-23 and will also have the capability to conduct periodic maintenance, repair and overhaul operations. With BDL having no prior experience in the production of short-range air-to-air missiles, the partnership with MBDA will be crucial for developing indigenous R&D and manufacturing ecosystem in the missile domain.

“Partnerships between Indian companies and global OEMs will play a pivotal role in achieving self-reliance and incremental enhancement of defence equipment manufacturing capability. The technological knowhow and manufacturing knowledge obtained from the ASRAAM project is anticipated to benefit the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) Next-Generation Close Combat Missile (NGCCM) project. Under the NGCCM project, DRDO intends to develop an advanced short-range infrared homing missile for the fifth-generation aircraft.

“The NGCCM is expected to replace the R-73 missile on the existing fourth and 4.5 generation aircraft in service with the IAF. The ASRAAMs will complement the aging Russian R-73 missiles in service with the IAF. Owing to its high countermeasures’ resistance and 90-degree off-boresight targeting & Lock-On After Launch (LOAL) capability, ASRAAM is expected to offer superior performance than the R-73 missile.

“The induction of ASRAAM will enhance the IAF’s air interdiction capability and provide a significant combat edge during future conflicts. The IAF plans to integrate ASRAAM on several key combat aircraft including Rafale, Mirage, Jaguar and Su-30MKI. In 2014, India signed a contract to procure 384 ASRAAMs. While the current inventory of missiles may be sufficient for Rafale, Mirage and Jaguar aircraft, additional missiles may be required if the air force decides to equip its entire fleet of around 270 Su-30MKI with ASRAAMs. The standardization of Close Combat Missile (CCM) across the fleet is expected to help the IAF reduce their weapon procurement and operations & maintenance (O&M) costs.”

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