India, France to co-develop naval missile

The Defence Acquisition Council has approved the ‘Maitri’ project for the co-development of a Short Range Surface-to-Air Missile (SR-SAM) by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) with MBDA of France, Navy officers said on Monday.

“The DRDO has been directed by the government to engage Original Equipment Manufacturer for joint development,” a Defence Ministry official said.

The project has been in the works since 2007 to meet the requirements of the Army and the Air Force. The DRDO had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with MBDA in 2013, but there has hardly been any progress because the DRDO’s Akash missile system has similar functions.

The Army and the Air Force have expressed satisfaction with the capabilities of Akash, but the Navy has made it clear that Akash is not suitable for installation on warships.

This is likely to be discussed further during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to France next week.

Last Saturday, the Defence Acquisition Council gave approval for the upgrade of 10 Kamov-28 anti-submarine helicopters of the Navy at a cost of €297 million. The helicopters are at the end of their service life.

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