Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and the Indian Ministry of Defense signed a contract worth US$1.6 billion today, for the supply of an unspecified number of Medium Range Surface to Air Missiles (MRSAM) for the Indian Land Forces. Delivery of the first system will begin within 72 months and will be deployed for operations by 2022-2023.
The MRSAM will be based on the ‘Barak 8’ air-defense system, which has already been delivered to the Indian Navy and selected for the Long Range SAM system by the Indian Air Force. The contract reflects the Israeli part of the $2.5 billion MRSAM order cleared by the Indian government in February this year. A third of the program is allocated directly to the Indian partner – the government managed Defense Research & Development organization (DRDO).
Based on ‘Make in India’ regime, IAI is obligated to outsource a significant part of the work to Indian subcontractors, on top of the parts of the program already allocated by the MOD to Indian suppliers. Some of the Indian companies that partnered with IAI include Bharat Electronics (BEL), Bharat Dynamics (BDL) and companies from the private sectors.
IAI signed today a second contract for the delivery of Barak 8 Long Range SAM (LRSAM) for the first locally built aircraft carrier – Vikrant. The 40,000 ton carrier is one of two indigenously built carriers currently under construction at Cochin and is planned to begin sea trials later this year. The ship is expected to be fully operational by 2023.
In Israel Barak 8 is being fitted to seven more platforms – the new missiles are replacing the older Barak-I on three Israeli 1,275 ton Saar V corvettes and is being integrated into the four 2,000 ton Saar 6 corvettes ordered from Germany. These boats are scheduled to arrive in Israel in 2019-2020 to beef up Israel’s offshore gas rigs.
Earlier this week India’s Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) approved the procurement of 100 Barak I missiles for older vessels, among them the Navy’s only operational aircraft carrier – INS Vikramaditya. The first contract for 262 Barak I missiles for the Indian Navy was signed in 2015 and will continue until 2020. Last month Navy successfully conducted the maiden trial firing of Barak from the ex-Russian carrier. Barak 8 LRSAM is currently integrated on two Indian Navy Kolkata class destroyers – INS Kolkata, Kochi, and Chennai.
With the current order Barak 8 MRSAM gains a strategic position with all of India’s military branches (Navy, Air Force and Army). At the recent Aero India airshow IAI unveiled a truck-mounted variant of Barak 8 family optimized for the Indian requirement for Quick Reaction SAM (QRSAM). This new version will employ many of the building blocks of the LRSAM-MRSAM system, in a manner that offers optimise logistical and operational benefits. IAI also pursue an extended range variant of the Barak-8 interceptor, intended to address the Indian Air Force’ Extended-Range SAM (ERSAM) requirement.