A new long-range SAM (surface-to-air missile) was test fired this week in the seas along the western coast of India, according to Israel’s Ministry of Defense.
“The Indian Navy today achieved a significant milestone in enhancing its anti-air warfare capability with the maiden firing of its newly-developed LR SAM,” the ministry said Wednesday (Dec. 30) in an official release. “The firing was undertaken on the Western Seaboard by INS Kolkata, wherein the missile successfully intercepted an aerial target at extended ranges.”
The “Barak 8” is being jointly produced by India’s defense research agency, the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), the Indian Navy, and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
The missile has a range of 70 kilometers and is capable of protecting navy vessels from multiple targets, including enemy aircraft, missiles and rockets. It has already been through one test aboard an Israeli Navy ship last year.
Once launched, the missile continues to receive its data from a radar system that predicts the trajectory of the threat and enables the missile to adjust its own path to meet and destroy the target. It can also detect multiple targets simultaneously, according to a senior Indian Navy official who spoke with Defense News.
It is expected the missile will be tested at least three more times before it will be fitted on board the Kolkata class destroyers, most likely within the next two years. According to Israel’s defense ministry, the missiles are also to be fitted on all future major Indian Navy warships.
“This missile, along with a multifunction active electronically scanned array naval radar (MF STAR) would provide these ships the capability to neutralize aerial threats at extended ranges. With the successful proving of these systems, the Indian Navy has become part of a select group of Navies that have this niche capability, which would provide a fillip to our Maritime Operations,” Israel’s defense ministry said.
The Barak-8 is to be produced by India state-owned Bharat Dynamics Ltd. India expects to initially fit 32 of the missiles on one of three Kolkata destroyers.
The project, commissioned in 2006, has reached a cost of more than $1.5 billion. There is no definite date for induction of the missile, although its initial target date was 2012, and there has been no explanation for the delay.Hana Levi Julian