AIR & MISSILE DEFENCE SYSTEM
Barak-8 is an Indo-Israeli jointly developed surface to air missile (SAM) system, designed to defend against any type of airborne threat including aircraft, helicopters, anti-ship missiles, UAVs, ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and combat jets
Used in naval point and area defence, Barak-8 is all weather missile system which can engage sea skimming to high altitude targets using its several advanced state-of-the-art systems (such) as, digital radar, command and control, launchers, interceptors with modern RF seekers, Data link and system-wide connectivity.
Barak means ‘Lightning’ in Hebrew. This Hebrew word has been chosen by the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to develop surface to air missile systems. Under an inter-governmental agreement between India and Israel, a joint venture has been established for the development of surface to air missile systems between Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and IAI. Barak-8, also known as the long range surface to air missile (LRSAM), has been designed to defend against any type of airborne threat including aircraft, helicopters, anti-ship missiles and UAV as well as cruise missiles and combat jets. While DRDO labs produce the propulsion rocket system, thrust vector system and certain other components, Israel builds the heart of the LRSAM—the seeker, endgame avionics and electronics, technologies that have independently matured in India. With a 70-km range, the LRSAM is fielded by arming the Project 17(A) frigates and the Vikramaditya aircraft carrier.
On June 30, 2016 India successfully testfired a new surface to air missile, developed jointly with Israel. Apart from the missile, the system includes a Multi-Functional Surveillance and Threat Alert Radar (MF STAR) for detection, tracking and guidance of the missile. The Research Centre Imarat (RCI), a laboratory of DRDO based at Hyderabad, has jointly developed this missile in collaboration with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). This is the first time India test-fired a land based version of Barak- 8 surface to air missile (SAM), successfully hitting the target pilotless target aircraft (PTA). The missile was again test fired for second time around noon where it again successfully hit a pilotless target aircraft over the Bay of Bengal. On July 1, 2016 the MRSAM (land based version) was tested for the third time from the same integrated test range and the missile successfully hit a pilotless target aircraft, proving its reliability. This MRSAM has been manufactured at the Hyderabad-based Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL). Many Indian industries like BEL, L&T, BDL, TATA group of companies plus some other private industries contributed to the development of a number of subsystems which were put to use in these flight tests. Earlier on December 29 and 30, 2015 the Indian Navy had successfully test-fired the Barak-8 missile from INS Kolkata; two missiles firing at high speed targets during naval exercises in the Arabian Sea.
Barak-8 is “an advanced, long range missile defence and air defence system” with its main features being:
Barak-8 has a length of about 4.5 m, a diameter of 0.225 m at missile body, and 0.54 m at the booster stage, a wingspan of 0.94 m and weighs 275 kg including a 60-kg warhead which detonates at proximity. The missile has maximum speed of Mach 2 with a maximum operational range of 70 km, which was later increased to 100 km. Barak-8 features a dual pulse rocket motor as well as thrust vector control (TVC), and possesses high degrees of manoeuvrability at target interception range. A second motor is fired during the terminal phase, at which stage the active radar seeker is activated to home in on to the enemy track. When coupled with a modern air defence system and multi-function surveillance track and guidance radars (such as the EL/M-2248 MF-STAR AESA onboard the Kolkata class destroyers) Barak-8 is capable of simultaneously engaging multiple targets during saturation attacks.
On May 21, 2017, IAI announced award of a “$630 million- contract for supply of LRSAM air and missile defence systems for four ships of the Indian Navy.” First Indian Navy contract for this system was signed in April 2009 for $1.1 billion. India is also procuring the land version of Barak-8 under its Medium-Range SAM programme for over $1.6 billion. This is expected to arm five air defence regiments of Indian Army. The contract was signed in April 2017.
On May 21, 2017, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) was awarded an additional, $630 million- contract for supply of LRSAM air & missile defence systems for four ships of the Indian navy. The contract was carried out, for the first time, with Indian government company Bharat Electronics Limited, which serves as the main contractor in the project as part of India’s ‘Make in India’ policy. Prior to signing the contract, the System was successfully tested as part of operational interception trial aboard India’s navy ship, demonstrating again the System’s operational capabilities in a representative scenario with genuine target. On October 24, 2018.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) announced that it has been awarded an additional, $777-million mega- contract for supply of LRSAM Air & Missile Defence systems (the marine version of the AMD system Barak-8) for seven ships of the Indian navy. The contract was entered with Indian state-owned company Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) which serves as the main contractor in the project.
The Indian Navy achieved a significant milestone on May 17, 2019 in enhancing its Anti Air Warfare Capability with the maiden cooperative engagement firing of the Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM). The firing was undertaken on the Western Seaboard by Indian Naval Ships Kochi and Chennai wherein the missiles of both ships were controlled by one ship to intercept different aerial targets at extended ranges. The firing trial was carried out by the Indian Navy, DRDO and Israel Aerospace Industries. These Surface to Air Missiles were fitted onboard the Kolkata Class Destroyers and on all future major warships of the Indian Navy. On January 24, 2019, ship launched Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LRSAM) was successfully test fired from INS Chennai against an incoming aerial target flying at low altitude. Final production batch of Long Range Surface to Air Missiles (LRSAM), designed and developed by DRDO in collaboration with various industry partners and integrated by BDL, was flagged off on February 14, 2021 at DRDL, Hyderabad. LRSAM system end to end performance has been successfully demonstrated through number of user flight trials from Indian Naval ships. This weapon system has been successfully productionised and has been delivered to Indian Navy.
In a significant boost to India’s defence capabilities, the first deliverable Firing Unit (FU) of Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) System was handed over to Indian Air Force (IAF) in the presence of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at Air Force Station, Jaisalmer in Rajasthan on September 9, 2021. The MRSAM (IAF) is an advanced network centric combat Air Defence System developed jointly by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) in collaboration with the Indian industry comprising of private and public sectors including MSMEs. In his address, Rajnath Singh lauded the joint efforts of DRDO, IAI, various inspection agencies, public & private industry partners in developing, what he termed, one of the best state-of-the-art missile systems in the world. “With the handing over of MRSAM system to IAF, we have taken a giant leap towards achieving ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ as envisioned by our Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It will prove to be a game changer in the air-defence-system,” he said.
The Navy’s LRSAM programme with IAI emerged from the successful induction of the Barak SAM on the Brahmaputra class of ships where their reliable performance led to the system being inducted on several other ships, and remains a key self-defence capability for them to this day. The proposal to co-develop the LRSAM by IAI and DRDO, which was taken in 2004, was path-breaking, as it was the first time that we went into a collaborative venture to develop a new weapon system ab initio with a foreign partner. It is also one of the only truly ‘joint’ weapon system of the Indian Armed Forces, with the MRSAM being a spin-off from the LRSAM, and which has now been inducted into the IAF. The development also boosted DRDO’s confidence and technical capability in this field, which had been severely dented with the lack of success of the indigenous system taken up by them in the late 1980s - the Trishul SAM programme, which was shelved soon after the LRSAM project commenced. There is also substantial potential for the system to be further developed into a longer range ballistic missile defence system in the years ahead, which needs to be pursued in all earnest.
— Vice Admiral A.K. Chawla (Retd)
The Author was the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command when he retired on November 30, 2021.
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) conducted two successful flight tests of the Indian Army version of Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) at Integrated Test Range, Chandipur off the coast of Odisha on March 27, 2022. The flight tests were carried out as part of the live firing trials against high-speed aerial targets. The missiles intercepted the aerial targets and destroyed them completely, registering direct hits at both the ranges. The first launch was to intercept a medium altitude long range target and second launch was for proving the capability of a low altitude short range target. This MRSAM version is a Surface to Air Missile developed jointly by DRDO and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Israel for use by the Indian Army. The MRSAM Army weapon system comprises multi-function radar, mobile launcher system and other vehicles. The flight tests were carried out with the weapon system in deliverable configuration.
Extended range (ER) variant of the Barak-8 will see the missiles maximum range increased to 150 km. Designed to engage multiple beyond visual range threats, the low launch signature Barak-8ER retains the same autopilot/inertial navigation system and active radar seeker guidance as the Barak-8. The missile is expected to equip the Indian Navy’s future Project 15B, Visakhapatnam class guided missile destroyers.
India and Israel signed a deal to co-develop an all new generation of the Barak SAM. It can identify and destroy airborne threats like jets, missiles and rockets, including projectiles launched simultaneously.
DRDO undertakes joint development of Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LRSAM) for Indian Navy and Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) for Indian Air Force with IAI, Israel.
Indian Navy successfully test-fired the Barak-8 missile from INS Kolkata; two missiles firing at high speed targets during naval exercises in the Arabian Sea.
A Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) was successfully test-fired from the Integrated Test Range off Odisha Coast. The MRSAM is jointly developed by DRDO and IAI of Israel for the Indian Air Force.
Ship launched Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LRSAM) has been successfully test fired from INS Chennai against an incoming aerial target flying at low altitude. LRSAM has been jointly developed by DRDO, India and IAI, Israel for the Indian Navy.
The Indian Navy achieved a significant milestone in enhancing its Anti Air Warfare Capability with the maiden cooperative engagement firing of the Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM). The firing trial was carried out by the Indian Navy, DRDO and IAI.
DRDO achieved a major milestone with the maiden launch of Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM), Army Version developed jointly with IAI, Israel for use of the Indian Army.
Final production batch of Long Range Surface to Air Missiles (LRSAM) flagged off. LRSAM is jointly developed by DRDO and IAI Israel to equip latest ships of Indian Navy.
The first deliverable Firing Unit (FU) of Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) System was handed over to Indian Air Force (IAF).
DRDO conducted two successful flight tests of the Indian Army version of Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM).This MRSAM version is a Surface to Air Missile developed jointly by DRDO and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Israel for use by the Indian Army.
Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) Army weapon system once again proved its effectiveness as two missiles, during the flight tests, achieved direct hits against high speed aerial targets.