India, France to soon finalize SRSAM, Mirage 2000 upgrade deals
12:00 AM, December 7, 2010
India and France expect to soon launch the Short Range Surface to Air Missile(SRSAM) and Kaveri (aircraft engine) programmes. “Discussions concerning the upgrading of Mirage-2000 aircraft are expected to be finalised soon”, said a joint statement issued after talks between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and visiting French President Nicolas Sarkozy in New Delhi on Monday. “France is one of India's most important and reliable defence partners. We deeply appreciate France's willingness to supply us advanced defence technologies in a way that contributes to the modernisation of our own defence industry”, Singh was quoted as saying. The Indian Air Force (IAF) currently operates two squadrons of Mirage-2000s and the upgrade programme will enable the aircraft to perform a given mission effectively due to greater fuel and weapon-delivery capacities.
The project will involve providing the aircraft, which IAF inducted first in mid-1980s, a fly-by-wire digital cockpit and an enhanced weapons-carrying capability, Indian media reported. India and France have also decided to co-develop the SRSAM missile under an agreement between the Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and French missile manufacturer MBDA. While India and France initiated the project in 2007, the missile project, tentatively named 'Maitri', took over three years to finalise. The Kaveri engine, being co developed by the two countries, is for India's indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) or 'Tejas' for which HAL has partnered with the French Snecma.
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