India’s state-owned Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has conducted a successful test firing of the Barak 8 long-range surface-to-air missile system (LRSAM), also referred to as Barak LR, from an Indian Navy warship, the Kolkata-class guided stealth destroyer INS Chennai, off the coast of Odisha on January 24.
According to an Indian Ministry of Defense (MoD) statement, the LRSAM was successfully tested against an incoming aerial target flying at low altitude. “The missile destroyed the target with a direct hit,” the statement reads. “All the mission objectives have been met.” India’s Minister of Defense, Nirmala Sitharaman, hailed the test on as a “significant milestone.”
The January 2019 test marks the first successful launch of the missile from an Indian Navy destroyer since November 2017, when the Barak 8 LR-SAM was test fired from the Kolkata-class guided-missile destroyer INS Kochi.
The Barak 8 LR-SAM air and missile defense system are slated to be installed aboard Visakhapatnam-class guided missile destroyers, Kolkata-class destroyers, Kamorta-class anti-submarine warfare corvettes, and the Project 17A class of stealth frigates, in addition to the INS Vikrant, the Indian Navy’s first domestically built aircraft carrier.
To date, the Indian Navy has integrated the Barack 8 LR-SAM air and missile defense system aboard four surface warships. As I explained in September 2018:
The Barak 8 LR-SAM missile defense system has been jointly developed by IAI and India’s state-owned Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) in collaboration with defense contractors in India and Israel, including Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. The two countries began join work on the LR-SAM in 2006 with a first successful test firing of the missile system taking place in May 2010.
The vertically-launched two-stage Barak 8, fitted with advanced radio frequency/infrared homing seekers, is designed to deal with a wide range of incoming airborne threats and can intercept targets as close as 500 meters away from a ship. The missile has a maximum speed of Mach 2 and its maximum range is estimated at around 70 kilometers (an extended range version of the Barak 8 can reportedly intercept targets at a distance of up to 150 kilometers.)
LR-SAM also features a multifunction active electronically scanned array naval radar system providing 360 degree coverage.
The Indian government awarded Israeli defense firm Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) a $770 million contract for supplying seven Barak 8 LR-SAM air and missile defense systems to the Indian Navy in October 2018. This was preceded by the signing of a $630 million deal, inked in May 2017 between IAI and its local partner, Indian state-owned aerospace and defense company Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), for the supply of four Barak 8 LR-SAM systems to the Indian Navy.