Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) has signed up with Thales to plug into its STARStreak Air Defence system global supply chain. The deal will provide BDL the opportunity to export of Indian manufactured components to existing and future STARStreak Air Defence customers, including the UK Armed Forces.
The STARStreak missile system is a British short range man-portable air-defence system (MANPADS) deployed by the British Army since 1997. So far, South Africa, Thailand, Indonesia and Malasia have ordered the system. The export orders are in small quantities and has not seen export success like Igla and Javelin. The other similar missiles in the category include Strela, Igla, Stinger, Anza, Blowpipe, Javelin, Mistral and RBS 70. This system has been rebranded by Thales as ForceSHIELD.
This is the fastest missile in its category, as per the company literature. “STARStreak is unique due to its three laser-guided darts, which cannot be jammed by any known countermeasure. It has the capability to defeat any air target – even armoured helicopters – as the last line of defence,” states the release.
Thales is counting on the BDL deal to supply the system to the Indian Armed Forces. “Today’s agreement will also provide the opportunity for BDL to offer a ‘Make in India’ STARStreak solution to the Indian Government, with a capability that will match the immediate air defence needs of the Indian Army and Air force, and with 60% of the system manufactured in India,” states Thales release.
The “partnership between Thales and BDL in this project with Transfer of Technology for STARStreak will create a new business opportunity for BDL and its Supply Chain Partners in India. BDL will be able to enhance its footprints in the export market in addition to (the) domestic market with this new business opportunity,” said Commodore Siddharth Mishra (Retd), Chairman and Managing Director, BDL in his speech during the signing ceremony.
Thales and BDL had signed an MOU during Aero India 2017 to explore prospects to jointly make Starstreak missile along with technology transfer.
BDL currently manufactures Akash Surface to Air Missile System for the Indian Armed Forces and the Akash Missiles have been approved for exports. In 2019, MBDA had signed an agreement with BDL for MISTRAL Missiles.