Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, the Indian state-owned aerospace and defense company, has awarded Thales a contract to supply 135 rocket launchers for 33 attack helicopters.
Eighteen of the army's advanced light helicopters and 15 of the air force's light combat helicopters will be equipped with four 12-tube, 2.75-inch rocket launchers, the company said in a Feb. 21 news release.
Last year, the rocket launcher was tested and qualified for deployment on India's LCH rotorcraft.
The company noted the launchers, which are suitable for light and combat helicopters, "provide an excellent fit with the requirements of the Indian armed forces."
"This new collaboration between Thales and HAL in the field of air-launched weaponry opens up new opportunities for the supply of equipment to the Indian armed forces, and consolidates Thales' position in the Indian market," Emmanuel de Roquefeuil, vice president and country director for Thales in India, said in the release. "With this, helicopter crews will see a significant improvement in their tactical capabilities during missions."
The rocket launchers are produced using composite material, which makes them 50 percent lighter than metal launchers and eliminates corrosion issues, the company said.
"The Indian armed forces are involved in a wide range of deployments in remote theaters, conducting operations beyond the scope of traditional homeland defense," Thales said in the statement. "For this reason, they need to round out their available resources with a view to boosting their tactical capability."
Munitions available for use with the launchers ranged from conventional rockets to Thales' laser-guided variant, according to the company.
Thales, a French-based company, has been present in India since 1953 with headquarters in New Delhi, including in defense, transport, aerospace and security markets.