Leading European missile manufacturer MBDA has announced an agreement to assemble and integrate cutting edge missile systems in India with the state owned Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), with officials saying that new facilities that will be set up can also be geared for exports to other nations.
MBDA, which also makes the entire weapons package for the Rafale fighter jet, has said that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on September 12 in London with Commodore Siddharth Mishra, the Chairman and Managing Director of BDL.
The European manufacturer already makes its Milan 2T anti tank missiles with BDL and also has a joint venture with private sector player Larsen and Toubro to develop and manufacture future anti tank weapons for the armed forces.
The company has announced that the new pact with BDL is for the final assembly, integration and test of its Mistral and ASRAAM missiles in India.
India had already ordered more than 380 of the ASRAAM air to air missiles for its fleet of Jaguar attack aircraft with work ongoing to integrate them on the aircraft. The first test firing is expected at the end of this year. In addition, the missile is also being pitched for the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft as well as a future armed version of the Hawk trainer aircraft.
The Mistral anti air missile was in contention for a large order for very short range air defence systems for the armed forces but lost out to the Russian Igla S. However the missile is likely to be ordered for the armed version of the Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter as well as the Light Combat Helicopter.
The BDL-MBDA combine has already manufactured over 50,000 missiles in India over the past decade, including the latest Milan 2T.