India Plans Bulk Buy of Israel Barak-I Missiles
India will soon buy more than 100 Barak-I surface-to-air missiles (SAM) from Israel for about 5 billion rupees ($77 million). Rafael’s Barak short-range SAMs are installed on most of the navy’s front-line warships, including its only aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya.
“The new missiles are urgently needed to replace the current ones,” a defense ministry official says. The Indian navy took delivery of the first batch of 262 Barak-Is in 2015 to arm its 14 main warships. Deliveries of that first batch will continue until 2020. The spokesman did not mention when India will start taking delivery of the new order.
The naval point defense system is vertically launched. A shipborne radar monitors the intercept and continuously guides the missile to its target. The missile has a short minimum range (a few hundred meters), and 10-km (6-mi.) maximum range against air targets.
Meanwhile, the Indian navy recently issued a global request for information (RFI) for a new short-range SAM system that would eventually replace the Barak-I. The RFI delineates a requirement for 10 vertical-launch SAM systems and 600 missiles for installation onboard its vessels. “We are looking for a missile system that is adequate to engage [targets traveling up to] Mach 3,” an Indian navy spokesman says, without specifying the range. Vendors have been asked to indicate the shortest tentative time schedule for supplying the systems, he added.
MBDA, Thales, Saab, Raytheon, Israel Aerospace Industries and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems have already shown interest. A full-fledged tender under the “Make in India” policy is likely to be issued later this year, and the system is expected to be inducted within the next five years.
—Jay Menon in New Delhi