On Tuesday August 29, the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) delivered the first batch of Long-Range Surface-to-Air Missile (LRSAM) systems to India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD).
Collaboratively developed with Israel’s ELTA Systems and Rafael, the LRSAM – also known as the Barak-8 – will be the principal anti-air warfare (AAW) system of Indian Navy frigates and destroyers. In December 2015, the INS Kolkata had test-fired the Barak-8 from its vertical launch system (VLS) silos.
The LRSAM/Barak-8 has a range of over 90 km (IHS Jane’s). The missile utilizes an terminal-stage active radar-seeker with an radar-supported inertial navigation system (INS). The LRSAM’s standard guidance radar is the ELTA Systems’ S-band EL/M-2248 Multi-Function Surveillance, Track and Guidance Radar (MF-STAR) active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar, which can track targets at up to 250 km.
New Delhi and Tel Aviv had signed onto developing the LRSAM/Barak-8 – previously known as Barak-NG – in 2006. It was envisaged as a joint-program between DRDO and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), which brought in its subsidiary ELTA Systems and Israeli munitions partner Rafael. The two sides then signed an agreement to co-develop a land-based variant, the medium-range surface-to-air missile (MRSAM) in 2007.
In May, IAI signed a $630 million U.S. contract with Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) to jointly produce and supply four LRSAM systems to the Indian Navy. IAI and BEL had also signed a $1.6 billion contract to supply MRSAM systems to the India Army. The MRSAM reportedly has a range of over 70 km.
Broadly, the LRSAM and MRSAM speak to the depth of Indo-Israeli defence relations, which have assumed major elements of India’s modernization and development programs.
While the LRSAM/MRSAM platform is forming a key aspect – if not backbone – of India’s medium-to-long range air defence environment, ELTA Systems’ AESA radars are also sensors of choice for the Indian armed forces. The EL/M-2032, EL/M-2248 and EL/W-2090 radars are used onboard the Tejas multi-role fighter, Kolkata-class destroyer and Phalcon airborne early warning and control (AEW&C), respectively.