Interview: MBDA-L&T joint venture aims to be lead private missile-maker in India

L&T MBDA Missile Systems Limited director Arun Ramchandani tells our editor N. C. Bipindra in an interview during DefExpo-2022 that ‘Sea Ceptor‘ offering to the Indian Navy for its air defence requirement is a futuristic technology. The company is currently making MICA missile equipment in Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu for the Indian Air Force‘s Mirage-2000 requirement, apart from exporting them.

Q. Kindly provide an overview of the progress of L&T MBDA Missile Systems Limited supplies to the Indian armed forces going on at present, and what are the deliveries now scheduled to be done on those contracts?

A. Today, L&T MBDA Missile Systems Limited is manufacturing MICA equipment and missile launchers in Coimbatore and exporting them and some of which are in turn supplied for the Indian Air Force’s Mirage-2000 fighter aircraft. 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 (BVR).

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. L&T MBDA Missile Systems Limited is already making key contributions for the MICA missile. We plan to offer MICA missiles to Indian armed forces.

File Photo: A MICA missile being fired from a fighter jet.

Q. Where has L&T MBDA Missile Systems Limited set its eyes on in India for its business growth in the days to come? What are the possible programmes of the Indian armed forces for which L&T MBDA Missile Systems Limited has offers from its portfolio of products?

L&T MBDA Missile Systems Limited director Arun Ramchandani

A. L&T MBDA Missile Systems Limited is bidding on various programmes for the Indian armed forces at the moment: it has offered the vertical launch Sea Ceptor air defence system for the Indian Navy’s SRSAM requirement, Exocet MM40 for the Indian Navy’s medium range anti-ship missile requirement and is offering a contemporary anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) as a ‘Make in India‘ programme.

Q. Please share the futuristic technologies that L&T MBDA Missile Systems Limited is currently working on in the weaponry sector, and how would those technologies fit into the India strategy of the company?

A. A good example of this is our offer of the ‘Sea Ceptor’ naval air defence system to the Indian Navy for its SRSAM requirement. Sea Ceptor is a highly advanced naval weapon system that features futuristic technologies such as high levels of autonomy and intelligence through both the missile and the wider system. These features enable the Sea Ceptor system to autonomously prioritise threats and intelligently optimise the allocation of missiles within an engagement to maximise operational effectiveness – and so provide the very highest level of protection from air attack for Indian sailors.

Q. What shall be L&T MBDA Missile Systems Limited’s outlook towards the ‘Make in India’ and ‘Aatmanirbar Bharat‘ (Self-Reliant India) push of the Indian government, with the company’s vast experience working with Indian armed forces, public and private sector companies?

A. We are a firm supporter. L&T MBDA Missile Systems Limited is a company set up with a vision to be the ‘Lead Indian Private Missile Developer and Manufacturer and Missile System Integrator‘ by delivering the best-in-class Indian-made missiles for the Indian armed forces through participation in ‘Buy (Indian – IDDM)‘, ‘Buy (Indian)‘, ‘Buy & Make (Indian)‘ and ‘Make‘ categories of defence procurement.

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