France loading ASMP-A on Rafale

Now what do we hear? There’s tantalizing talk of France offering, as sweetener for the Rafale MMRCA deal still hanging fire, the Air-launched ASMP-A (Air-Sol Moyenne Portee) cruise missile. The twin objective could also be to displace the Brahmos with the argument that ASMP-A at one ton weight can be carried by MiG-21 (but these are being quickly wasted out of IAF) and even the Tejas LCA (which is simply not possible). Besides, as those in the know point out, the Brahmos may be heavier at 3-ton weight but in no other parameter is it outperformed by the ASMP-A. For instance, the French item can go supersonic in only certain flight regimes (such as high altitudes). The ASMP-A, it may be noted, has also been offered to China. Great business this — make oodles of money arming all sides against each other! But the ASMP-A riding on Rafale is a sign of desperation. But also a means for the entire $22 billion deal to go down easier. Well placed sources particularly refer to the fact of the French having paid up, ahem!, the “commissions” to every one up and down the Indian system starting at the political apex, and expect the beneficiaries will now do their bit.

The ASMP-A offer encompasses the larger issue of foreign arms suppliers doing every thing in their power to kill off indigenous projects –in this case the highly regarded Brahmos made in collaboration with Russians, and the even more local DRDO programme for “hypersonic” cruise missile with the platypus nose which’s coming along nicely and, many knowledgeable people say, will add an additional 200 kms to MIRVed nuclear warheads as glide bombs on A-5 and the coming A-6.

About Bharat Karnad

Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, he was Member of the (1st) National Security Advisory Board and the Nuclear Doctrine-drafting Group, and author, among other books of, 'Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy', 'India's Nuclear Policy' and most recently, 'Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)'. Educated at the University of California (undergrad and grad), he was Visiting Scholar at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, and Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, DC.
This entry was posted in Asian geopolitics, China, China military, civil-military relations, Defence Industry, DRDO, Europe, India's strategic thinking and policy, Indian Air Force, Indian Politics, Military Acquisitions, Missiles, Nuclear Policy & Strategy, Russia, russian assistance, South Asia, Strategic Relations with the US & West, Technology transfer. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to France loading ASMP-A on Rafale

  1. satyaki says:

    Bharat Sir,

    1. Do you mean to say that MIRVs integrated with some sort of airbreathing engine (so as to follow a powered hypersonic trajectory on reentry) are being developed for the A-5/A-5 follow on ?

    2. If so, will the range increment be just 200 km ? It is easier to get a 200 km range increment simply by building a larger booster, is’nt it ?

    3. Going by what Dr. Avinash Chander and others have said publicly, MIRV technology is being developed. But has a MIRVed follow-on to the A-5 (which DRDO refuses to publicly call A-6 but which Dr. Avinash Chander has indicated has a 3 ton payload) officially sanctioned by GoI ? So far, indications are that no GoI sanction has been received.

    4. Given this, would the project you mentioned above fructify in the next 5 years ? Or is it a more long term project ?

    5. When is the next A-5 test due ? It was supposed to happen in May/June, but so far, no signs of its happening yet.

    • The 2nd A-5 test-firing is due, but with the Manmohan Singh regime apparently always more mindful of the effects on foreign countries than about national security imperatives, who knows, maybe it’ll be postponed. Unless the new DRDO chief, Avinash Chander, formerly head of ASL, Hyderabad, really puts his foot down and persuades DefMin AK Antony who, in turn, pressures PM to stick to planned testing schedule.

      The hypersonic cruise missile (HCM) is progressing well and many see it as being perfect technology for extended range MIRVed warheads. Though this will necessitate quite considerable miniaturization of HCM to fit the nosecone A-5/A-6 geometries though. This is a better option, surely, for extending range of missiles than a bigger booster. There is no reason why India shouldn’t pursue both missile options — HCM warheads and bigger booster and HCM warheads

      With Dr Chander in the chair one can expect a serious push on the long range Agni-program and especially A-6, which is his baby..

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