MBDA confirmed today that its PARS 3 Long Range (LR) guided missile system has been short listed for the Indian Army helicopter future air-to-ground requirement. MBDA Deutschland is also cooperating with Russian helicopter manufacturers Kamov and Mil, integrating the Ka-52 and Mi-28 with PARS 3 LR air/ground and Mistral Air/Air missiles.

MBDA submitted a proposals for its PARS 3 LR multi-target, long range weapon system for HAL’s Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH DHRUV) and for two attack helicopters, the KAMOV KA-52 and the MIL MI-28, proposed for a parallel Indian Air Force replacement of Mi-25 gunships. The Tiger from Eurocopter hasn’t been shortlisted, the only competitor remaining is the Boeing Apache Longbow Block III. On the weapon’s side MBDA is competing with RAFAEL for the Indian Army program. The Longbow can use Hellfire laser guided missiles or Longbow MMW guided missiles. MBDA is expecting a final selection in India by year’s end or early 2012. The Indian Air Force program may take longer.

PARS 3LR anti-tank missile launched from a German Army Tiger attack helicopter during a recent test conducted at the test range in Vidsel, Sweden. Photo: MBDA

According to Peter Meuthen, MBDA anti-tank programs sales manager, the recent firing trials held at the Vidsel test range in Sweden in April 2011 were performed in support of the Indian program qualification. All three missiles were equipped with live warheads and all three struck their intended targets at the optimal hit points. Two firings were carried out within one minute of each other, the first against a static target at a range of 7,000 m and the second against a moving target at a range of 700 m. The third firing was carried out with the helicopter in fast forward flight against a static target at a range of 7,000 m.

PARS 3 LR is a ‘Fire and Forger’ /long-range third generation missile. At present, the missile was selected only for the Tiger helicopter ordered by the German Army. Equipped with a powerful tandem warhead, PARS 3 is capable of engaging mobile and stationary targets at long range (in the recent tests the missile demonstrated engagement at ranges of 7,000 m’. Another capability highlighted by the weapon is the rapid firing capability, in a recent test conducted for the German Bundeswehr four missiles were launched in 10 seconds, each engaging a separate target.

MBDA Deutschland is currently preparing for serial production of PARS 3 LR missiles delivering 680 missiles to equip German Army Tiger helicopters by 2014. Production is scheduled to begin in 2012 following a final firing campaign scheduled for September 2011, where missiles will be fired at tactical representative targets rain (urban, moving targets etc). According to Patrick de la Reveliere, MBDA India the each of the two programs in Indian is several times larger than the German procurement, offering substantial gain and significant offset opportunities to India. MBDA Deutchland is setting a production line capable of producing 50 missiles per month, more than twice that required to fulfil the German order (up to 20 /month).

The contract for industrialisation and series production of the PARS 3 LR missiles will be managed by PARSYS, a joint venture between LFK-Lenkflugkörpersysteme GmbH (50%), now MBDA Deutschland, and Diehl BGT Defence (50%). Development of the overall PARS 3 LR system was formally completed in mid-2004. However, MBDA Deutschland has been manufacturing key components (electronics, launchers) of the PARS 3 LR system which have then been integrated by Eurocopter into the platform since the series production contract for the 80 Tiger helicopters was signed in 1998.

The PARS 3LR weapon was developed under a three-nation cooperation (TRIGAT), which fell apart upon the withdrawal of British support. Later, the French MOD decided to discontinue its support leaving Germany to back the program. A possible Indian order could bring the missile back to the limelight. Photo: Tamir Eshel, defense Update
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