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India’s BDL signs contract with Thales for STARStreak Missile Systems

Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile. (Press Information Bureau, Government of India/Released)
January 23, 2021

India’s premier Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) has signed a “Teaming Agreement” with the British subsidiary Thales Systems to manufacture advanced portable Air to Surface Missile STARStreak System for the Indian Army under the Indian Ministry of Defense. This pact will be under the “Make in India” initiative to produce the latest weapons on home soil. Both governments of India and the UK have confirmed the deal.

“This partnership between Thales and BDL Transfer of Technology for ‘STARStreak’ will create a new business opportunities for us and our supply chain partners in India. BDL will be able to enhance its footprints in the export market, in addition to the domestic market with the new business opportunity,” said Chairman & Managing Director Commodore Siddharth Mishra (retd) on Friday.

With a working group soon to be established in this pact, BDL will get direct access to the most unique missile systems in its class. The technology transfer will be under the umbrella of the contract, which will present a lion’s share of the system’s technical capability and access of the engineering model. It will open the door for extensive industrial opportunities for Indian based enterprises and will mark the first major defense deal with the British government in many years.

This will allow a growing bigger ecosystem for foreign original equipment manufacturers to join with Indian firms like BDL to set up the manufacturing facility, according to Thales UK CEO Alex Cresswell. He further said the partnership pact between both firms is a “significant milestone” for both nations and he is looking forward to developing a close working relationship.

Under the initiative program of Make in India, British Subsidiary Thales will provide greater accessibility of business to manufacture the missile on Indian soil. The marketing of this missile system envisages inducting an Indian-specific standard model with profound space to create a healthy sustainable industry for such state-of-the-art weapons, allowing BDL to step into the global export market in the future.

Thales aims to make BDL a producing facility for its missile, with plans to use BDL made STARStreak System export in the global market, including the UK, strengthening the Thales business in Belfast, Ireland, benefiting the small and medium enterprises in the U.K.

StarTrek Missile is a man-portable air-defense system (MANPAD) designed by Thales Air Defense and is in operation since 1997 with five nations around the world. The system features the unique adaptability of warhead mounting onto the top of the missile body. The main missile carries three laser beam riding submunitions with the ability to increase the envelope of targeting range with a high probability hit locked at 7km effective range.

The missile is a semi-automatic command to line of sight guided and considered the fastest missile of its class. After launch, it achieves 4 mach velocity in a fraction of a period during target approach.

With the induction of such a system, the Indian Army can arm their troops with considerable man-portable weapons against air hostilities, especially in the Himalayas against China where the Indian Army having an armed standoff since last year.