Naples, Italy: European missile making consortium MBDA has said the field evaluation trials of its Pars 3 LR fire-and-forget anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) is slated to get underway soon. The ATGM has been shortlisted alongside Rafael Advanced Defence System's Spike-ER for the Indian Army's weaponised Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) 'Rudra.'
''We are waiting for the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (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 making consortium which is 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 also offered nearly a dozen tactical weapon systems for deployment with the Indian armed forces.
The Pars 3 LR, Meuthen said, 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 resistance to jamming.
In a 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 tested 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,'' 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 the 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.''
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 along with the 'Hellfire' anti-armour missile-equipped Apache AH-64 D manufactured by Boeing.