Thales and Indian state-owned defense contractor Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) have entered into a teaming agreement under which the STARStreak man-portable air-defense system (MANPADS) would be manufactured in India.
The agreement was signed between the companies in the presence of UK and Indian government representatives in a virtual ceremony on January 13, 2021.
Through the agreement, BDL will become a part of the STARStreak global supply chain, providing the opportunity for export of Indian manufactured components to existing and future STARStreak customers, including the UK Armed Forces.
More importantly, the 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 defense needs of the Indian Army and Air force, and with 60% of the system manufactured in India.
“Today’s signing is a significant milestone for all parties concerned and I look forward to Thales and BDL developing a close working relationship. This is good news for our business in Belfast in Northern Ireland, for the strong supply chain of UK SMEs with whom we work and for our teams in India,” Alex Cresswell, CEO of Thales in the UK said.
“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,” Commodore Siddharth Mishra (Retd), chairman and managing director of BDL, added.
The STARStreak missile system is in service in the British Army and has been exported to Malaysia, South Africa, Thailand and Indonesia. STARStreak is unique due to its three laser-guided darts, which cannot be jammed by any known countermeasure, according to Thales.
The missile itself is the fastest of its kind in the world, achieving a Mach 3 velocity shortly after launch. It is designed to provide close air defense against conventional air threats such as fixed-wing fighters and late unmasking targets, such as attack helicopters.