MBDA's Sea Ceptor next-generation, ship-based, all-weather, air defence weapon system

European weapon manufacturer MBDA plans to display a full-scale Meteor missile and missile systems at DefExpo 2022, scheduled to be held between March 10-13 at Gandhinagar, Gujarat. Besides, products related to air domination, the European group will showcase its maritime and battlefield weapons in the megaevent.

At the biennial defence show, MBDA is displaying meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile, MICA air combat missile and SCALP deep strike missile. which are being delivered for the Indian Air Force’s Rafale aircraft.

Besides, MICA and SALP, new generation Close Combat Missile program, ASRAAM will also be displayed. The missile system gives a high kinematic capability that delivers superior end-game performance for within visual range air combat. MBDA has recently signed an agreement with state DPSU – Bharat Dynamics Limited to conduct the final assembly, integration and testing (FAIT) of ASRAAM missiles in India for the Indian Air Force. ASRAAM will arm the IAF’s upgraded Jaguar fleet, and potentially other IAF platforms. These are the highest performing missiles of their type available anywhere in the world, providing India with the ability to stealthily strike deep at enemy targets and to dominate totally in air combat, the company claims.

It also includes close co-operation with private sector Indian firms, a notable example being MBDA’s joint venture (JV) with Larsen & Toubro, L&T MBDA Missile Systems Ltd. This JV already has a fully working site in Coimbatore manufacturing missile and missile launcher components and is competing to provide local Indian solutions for tenders such as it offers SeaCeptor, the latest generation of the naval air defence system, for the Indian Navy’s Short-Range Surface to Air Missile (SRSAM) requirement, the company said through a press statement.

MICA is being delivered for the IAF’s Mirage-2000 upgrade and Rafale. It 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.

The European group is also showcasing MISTRAL ATAM which 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 the 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 Light Combat Helicopter platform also manufactured by HAL.

For battlefield domination, during DefExpo 2022 MBDA and L&T MBDA Missile Systems Ltd will be exhibiting the next-generation technologies of the battlefield anti-tank weapons. This includes full firing posts of the new MMP missile and a fully functional simulator of a new Indian anti-tank missile.

For maritime superiority, SeaCeptor is on display in the exhibition. It is the latest generation all-weather air defence system is of particular interest to the Indian Navy as it is under consideration for its Short-Range Surface to Air Missile (SRSAM) requirement, the company declares. Through the use of new advanced technologies, SeaCeptor provides complete protection against all known and projected air targets including saturation attacks across 360° simultaneously. SeaCeptor utilises the CAMM missile that features a next-generation all-weather fully active RF-seeker, two-way datalink and soft-vertical launch system to provide a step-change in performance compared with previous generation systems, according to MBDA.

One of the world’s best known anti-ship missiles – Exocet, the submarine variant, SM39, has been delivered to the Indian Navy to arm its Scorpene submarines (Project 75) will also be on display. 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. Both Exocet SM39 and AM39 will be exhibited, which has offered this system for the Indian Navy’s Medium Range Anti-Ship Missile requirement.

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 DEFEXPO 2022, 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 a range of well over 120 km, thus enabling it 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. A sub-scale model of Marte ER will be displayed on the MBDA stand at DefExpo 2022.