DRDO hands over first LRSAM to Indian Ministry of Defence
April 16, 2024
The LRSAM being test-fired from the INS Kolkata

DRDO hands over first LRSAM to Indian Ministry of Defence

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.