Two Indian Air Force teams will fly to France and Israel next month to test air defense systems offered by MBDA and Rafael for India’s Low Level Quick Reaction Missile program.
The firms are the finalists in a competition launched last year to buy an unspecified number of systems for $325 million. Other participants included firms from France, Israel, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
India began looking to foreign firms after its homegrown Trishul was rejected by the Army, Navy and Air Force, said an Indian Defence Ministry official.
The Air Force owns about 100 Russian OSA self-propelled anti-aircraft integrated systems, including missile guiding racks and target-detection radars.
Indian Air Force sources said an upgraded OSA was tested in 2002 at India’s Interim Test Range at Chandipur in the eastern Indian state of Orissa, but no details were available.
The Trishul program was launched in 1984 by India’s state-owned defense research agency, the Defence Research and Development Organisation, but the missile failed to hit targets on the nine-kilometer range in more than two dozen tests over the last two years, an Air Force official said.