MBDA Deutschland conducted three firing trials of its PARS 3 LR fire-and-forget precision missile in late April as part of its campaign to sell the weapon to India. Performed at the Vidsel range in Sweden, the test firings were undertaken from a German Eurocopter Tiger UHT helicopter, for which PARS 3 LR has been selected by the German army.
In the first trial the Tiger fired from a hover at a target seven kilometers (four nautical miles) away, then immediately repositioned and fired again at a moving target less than a minute later. The third firing was undertaken at 6,900-meters range with the helicopter in fast forward flight. All three tests were successful.
PARS 3 LR is on the shortlist of weapons to arm the Indian Army’s Dhruv/ALH helicopter, with follow-on application to the new LCH (light combat helicopter). Evaluations for this potentially large order are being held this year, leading to a selection decision expected some time next year.
The weapon is also part of the proposals for an Indian air force requirement for an attack helicopter to replace the Mil Mi-24. MBDA is to provide the missile armament for the Russian Kamov Ka-52 and Mil Mi-28 proposals, PARS 3 LR being partnered by MBDA’s Mistral air-to-air missile.
Meanwhile, MBDA Deutschland has delivered all 80 sets of firing posts and launchers for the German army’s 80 Tiger UHT helicopters. Beginning in September, four firings are to be undertaken as part of integrated field evaluation trials. The tests will include shots against a moving target, in a simulated urban environment, and against a temporarily hidden target.
Delivery of the 680 missiles under contract for Germany begins early next year, with production running into 2014 at the expected rate of 25 per month. If MBDA is successful in India, the requirement would be much larger, and production can be doubled with current facilities.
PARS 3 LR is an IR-guided weapon with a tandem warhead and an engagement range of 500 to 7,000 meters (1,650 feet to four miles). It is highly maneuverable and has a high fly-out speed of 290 meters per second (560 knots).
It has a pre-cooled seeker so that it can be launched immediately, without the need for a cool-down period, and it has direct or top attack options. The infrared seeker employs constant optimal hitpoint calculation, and it has a prediction mode for targets that are temporarily hidden. Four can be fired in less than 10 seconds.