MBDA’s arrows in IAF’s quiver

A fully-loaded Rafale fighter jet with it's missile load. Source: MBDA

India’s newly inducted multi-role combat aircraft Dassault’s Rafale is certainly a ‘Game Changer’ owing to the IAF’s much talked about two front war from China and Pakistan. Aircraft will provide its Air Force not just with a fast and agile modern fighter but one that comes armed with a highly potent set of weapons from MBDA.

MBDA is the only European group capable of designing and producing missiles and missile systems to meet the whole range of current and future needs of the three armed forces.

Indian Air Force IAF - Aviatorsbuzz
The Meteor. This is an active radar guided beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile developed by MBDA. Meteor offers a multi-shot capability against long range maneuvering targets, jets, UAVs and cruise missiles in a heavy electronic countermeasures environment with a range in excess of 100 kilometres. Source: MBDA

Among all these artilleries, the most advanced and the lethal weapon that empowers the new fighter is Meteor-Beyond Visual Range air-to-air missile. Powered by a unique rocket-ramjet motor that pushes the missile beyond the ordinary range which means it can fly faster, fly longer and manoeuvre more than any other missile extant.

The second missile of MBDA called SCALP and it equips Rafale to carry out deep strike beyond the enemy lines. In combat, this stealthy weapon has reportedly proven its unerring ability and destroys hardened and protected targets deep inside hostile territory, without need for the Rafale to enter inimical airspace.

Rafale Fighter Plane - Aviatorsbuzz
The Storm Shadow or SCALP EG. This is an Anglo-French low-observable air-launched cruise missile, developed since 1994 by Matra and British Aerospace, and now manufactured by MBDA. Storm Shadow is the British name for the weapon; in French service it is called SCALP EG. Source: MBDA

The operational efficiency of this deadly is based on three key elements-high survivability owing to its long stand-off range, low observability and sophisticated mission planning system. The weapon comes with a pinpoint terminal accuracy that is the output of its highly accurate seeker and target recognition system and its terminal effectiveness provided by the powerful tandem warhead and multiple detonation modes.

MICA another set of missile that will be empowering Indian Rafales is also a product of MBDA. This air-to-air is not new to the IAF in fact, it is part of the upgrade package of Indian Air Force’s Mirage 2000 fighters. MICA is the only missile in the world featuring two interoperable seekers to cover 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 ‘a silent killer’ as the target has little time to react or to deploy effective countermeasures.


Besides these new weapons for Rafales and upgrade programme for Mirage 2000, the IAF is all set to receive another arrow from MBDA’s quiver called the ASRAAM Missile. This missile is a part of the package for IAF’s Jaguar fighter upgrade programme. ASRAAM accepts target information via the aircraft sensors, such as the radar or helmet mounted sight but can also act as an autonomous infrared search and track system. It has a larger and more powerful rocket motor than other missiles in its class, giving pilot a key ‘first shot first kill capability to take uncertainty out of a potential dogfight.

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Nitin Konde is a freelance journalist with an experience of more than a decade. Being a freelancer, he has covered various domains in his field such as Sports, Biotechnology, Defence etc. and has been associated with brands like The Times of India, Vayu Aerospace and Defence Review Magazines. Since the last three years he has been focusing and writing extensively on the defence sector, he is here to share his expertise with our readers on AviatorsBuzz.