The Barak-8 programme comprising of the Medium and Long Range Surface to Air Missile (MR-SAM/LR-SAM) missiles being developed by India and Israel will be ready for testing by early 2012. The state-run DRDO and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) are currently working together on the MR-SAM and LR-SAM missile project and its test with the entire supporting system will happen in Israel by February 2012. These missiles are also known as Barak-8 missiles and its first test took place in May 2010.
According to sources, the MR-SAM and LR-SAM missiles, part of the Barak-8 progrmme, will greatly improve the capabilities of the Indian and Israeli navies. Barak 8 is an extension of the offensive and defensive system developed by IAI’s Missiles and Space division. The Barak-8 missiles have a compact size, fast response time and are highly effectiveness against missile threats. Indian Navy intends to mount medium-long range surface-to-air missiles systems on future warships. The current Barak-8 missiles will be equipped on its next-generation frigates and India expects to field the missiles on land and sea.
The MR-SAM missiles are scheduled to equip the three Kolkata class guided missile destroyers which will be delivered by Mazagon Docks by 2012 thereby leading to the installation of the Barak-8 systems by 2013. Another four additional Kolkata class destroyers will be equipped with an extended range version of the missile (ER-SAM) capable of intercepting targets at a range of 100 kilometers. These destroyers are being built in India under the Project 15 A, 15 B and 17 A of the Indian Navy.
Prior to the induction of the MR-SAM and LR-SAM missiles, there will be a weapon qualification program which will include eight test firings. These test-firings will occur in India and Israel. The DRDO will be the prime developer for the MR-SAM project and Israel Aerospace Industries will be the key partner who will contribute most of the applicable technology and even transfer relevant technology and manufacturing capabilities. In fact, various elements of the system have already been delivered to India including the four-plane MF-STAR phased array radar and shipboard electronic modules supporting the system.
Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is also planning to field the extended range version of the missile as part of the LR-SAM program. The system will employ advanced surface radars, airborne sensors and advanced data links to provide network-centric air defense capability against aircraft, cruise missiles and anti-ship guided missiles with each site covering a range of about 100 kilometers.
The Barak-8 missile system features a vertically launched active radar seeker missile with flexible dual pulse smokeless solid fuel motor. This enables high maneuverability at target interception range throughout the missile's wide envelope. The missile is believed to have a range of 70 / 80 kilometers and a ceiling of 16 kilometers. Barak 8 incorporates an advanced multi-function electronically scanning array that continuously covers 360 degree. This creates a defensive shield in all directions while simultaneously functioning in target acquisition and surface search modes. This enables a better response to aerial or missile threats. As for the ground-based system, each battery has its own control van and mobile command. The network- centric features of the system is supported by the Command & Control element of each of these batteries communicating with other batteries and other air defense assets. This facilitates a larger common picture in the sky and helps identify threats, missiles or friendly aircraft.