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Under the memorandum of understanding (MOU) the two firms will collaborate on setting up a final assembly, integration and test (FAIT) facility in support of MBDA's Mistral air-to-air/air defence missile and its Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM).
The agreement - announced on 19 September but signed one week earlier at the 2019 Defence and Security Equipment International exhibition (DSEI 2019) in London - builds on the strong partnership that MBDA and BDL have developed over several decades. In its statement, MBDA said it has been working with Hyderabad-based BDL for 50 years in which time more than 50,000 MBDA-designed missiles have been manufactured in India.
In terms of sales, MBDA has previously supplied its Mistral air-to-air missile (AAM) for integration onto the Indian Armed Forces' locally built Dhruv utility helicopter and Light Combat Helicopter (LCA), and the company is also bidding to supply a version of the missile to meet an Indian programme to procure very-short-range defence (VSHORAD) systems.
The ASRAAM system has also been selected by India under a USD250 million contract announced in 2014. Under the deal, the ASRAAM will equip the Indian Air Force's (IAF's) upgraded SEPECAT Jaguar fighter aircraft fleet. In service with the IAF, the ASRAAM is known as the New Generation Close Combat Missile (NGCCM).
In addition to sales of the Mistral and ASRAAM, MBDA is currently engaged in two other high profile programmes in India. These include the provision of a EUR710 million (USD785 million) weapons package for the IAF's on-order Dassault Rafale fighter aircraft from France and the supply of missiles for the IAF's upgraded Mirage 2000H fighters. The former programme was set to contract in 2016, the latter five years earlier