MBDA's Pars 3 LR has been shortlisted with Spike-ER for Army's ‘Rudra'

The field evaluation trials (FET) of MBDA Missile System's Pars 3 LR fire-and-forget anti-tank guided missile (ATGM), shortlisted alongside Rafael Advanced Defence System's Spike-ER for the Indian Army's weaponised Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) ‘Rudra,' is slated to get under way soon.

“We are waiting for the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited [HAL] to give us the schedule for trials. Hopefully, the dates will be finalised soon,” MBDA's Peter Meuthen told a group of Indian journalists at the company's facility at Fusaro, north of Naples, Italy.

MBDA is a four-nation European missile major eyeing a strategic partnership with India in defence development and production. Besides jointly developing a short-range surface-to-air missile (SR-SAM) with India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), it has offered close to a dozen of its tactical weapon systems to the Indian armed forces.

Pars 3 LR, according to Mr. Meuthen, is a high precision weapon system with a broad target spectrum. “It is highly effective against mobile and stationary targets equipped with latest armour protection; field fortresses; and bunkers besides other high-value targets,” he said.

Pars 3 LR boasts a maximum operational range of seven kilometres and is said to possess high jamming resistance. In salvo mode, it can fire up to four missiles in 10 seconds. The missile, in service with the German Army on its UH-Tiger helicopters, was live-fired at Vidsel in Sweden in April this year. “The successful firings matched all Indian operational requirements, but an Indian delegation could not witness it due to administrative reasons,” Mr. Meuthen said.

A Bangalore-based Indian company has been co-opted by MBDA to design and develop a twin launcher, a derivative of the quad launcher fitted on German Tiger helicopter, for the launch of the missile from ALH Rudra. “The twin-launcher has been developed by the Indian company and its production will be done there [in the event of the selection of Pars 3 LR in the competition].”

Simultaneously, MBDA has come out with an eight-missile configuration for the under-development indigenous Light Combat Helicopter (LCH). Pars 3 LR is also in contention to weaponise the 22 attack helicopters being acquired by the Indian Air Force to replace its ageing fleet of Mi-25. MBDA has proposed Pars 3 LR for the Russian MIL Mi-28 helicopter which competes in the IAF evaluation with the ‘Hellfire' anti-armour missile-equipped Apache AH-64 D manufactured by Boeing.

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