Friday, February 11, 2011

India Upgrading Jaguars, Mirage 2000s With New Weapons

By Leithen Francis

MBDA and Rafael are competing to provide new weapons systems for India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.-built Sepecat Jaguar fighters.
The Jaguar, a ground attack aircraft, has bombs under the wings, so above the wing is where the missiles will be placed. MBDA is pitching the Asraam (Advanced Short-Range Air-to-Air Missile). It is highlighting the missile’s high speed and the fact that in the past Asraams were installed on Jaguars operated by the U.K. air force.
Rafael of Israel is proposing the Python 5. It is highlighting that missile’s accuracy and high maneuverability, thanks to the extra fins it has. A Rafael executive here at Aero India this week says the missiles currently used on India’s Jaguars are the French-made Magic missile and the Russian-built R-77. Both companies will be providing test weapons for captive-carriage tests in Bengaluru in the coming months.
An Indian delegation will also visit the U.K. and Israel in the second half of this year to see live firing tests. MBDA plans to show the Asraam fired from a Eurofighter Typhoon and Rafael will use an Israeli Air Force Lockheed Martin F-16.
The two companies are also competing to provide new weapons for India’s Dassault Mirage 2000s. MBDA and Sagem are offering AASM precision-guided bombs and MICA IR and MICA RF air-to-air missiles. Rafael is offering its 2,000-lb. Spice 2000 guided bombs.
In terms of air-to-air missiles, the Mirage 2000s are fitted with Magic missiles. These have been with these aircraft for more than 20 years, according to executives from MBDA. MBDA is highlighting that it has already installed MICA IR and RF missiles on Mirage 2000s in service with countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Greece.
The MICA weighs about 112 kg (247 lb.) compared to 98 kg for the Magic missiles, the executives say. Even though the missile is heavier, MBDA is able to install six MICA missiles under the wing of the Mirage 2000.
Another selling point MBDA is pushing is that enemy aircraft are unable to detect whether the specific MICA missile is a IR or RF type. As a consequence, the enemy is unable to determine whether to fire flares or chaff.
Jaguar photo: USAF

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