India and France are aiming at finalising a missile co-development project for the manufacturing of a new range of Short Range Surface to Air Missiles (SRSAM) for the Indian Armed forces. In the coming months, the co-development project of SRSAM, which was initiated three years back, will finally take off since terms and agreements are being cleared between the two nations.
The SRSAM joint development project will involve India’s state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the French missile maker MBDA.
The manufacturing of the Indo-French missile, called “Maitri”, will be replacing the OSA-AK Soviet-era missile defence systems with India. This co-development project will also lend further mileage to MBDA’s credibility in missile development since it has not produced a similar missile before this project.
As of now, MBDA and the DRDO have finalised the design and performance parameters of the missile that can be of optimal use to the Indian Armed forces. The current Russian missiles are used for protection of airfields and other crucial installations.
The Indo-French missile is aimed at giving more advanced defending capabilities to India’s vital assets, VVIP complexes as well as provide mobile air cover to troops in operations. The missile is also being considered for exports.
Earlier this year, the DRDO and MBDA put together the work-share proposal and identified all collaborative development areas. Both the parties are fully prepared to complete development and the first phase of testing within three years from the time the project is given formal sanction by the Cabinet.
The “Maitri” programme will incorporate baseline technologies from the “Trishul” SAM programme and it envisages the sale of certain key technologies by MBDA to DRDO like the seeker, endgame avionics, thrust vector control and propulsion modifications.
According to preliminary reports, the “Maitri” missile will be built with two basic variants which includes a ship-borne point defence and tactical air defence version for the Navy and a land-based self-propelled (wheeled and tracked) launcher-based system for the Air Force and Army.