By Arie Egozi
The Indian Navy last week achieved a significant milestone in enhancing its anti-air-warfare capability with the maiden cooperative engagement firing of the Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM). The test was performed by Indian Naval Ships Kochi and Chennai.
Missiles of both ships were controlled by one ship to intercept different aerial targets at extended ranges. The firing trial was carried out by the Indian Navy, DRDO and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the company that has developed the missiles.
The MRSAM has been manufactured by Indian company Bharat Dynamics in cooperation with IAI.
These Surface to Air Missiles are fitted onboard the Kolkata Class Destroyers and would also be fitted on all future major warships of the Indian Navy.
According to the Indian Navy, with the successful proving of this cooperative mode of engagement, the Indian Navy has become a part of a select group of Navies that have this niche capability. This capability significantly enhances the combat effectiveness of the Indian Navy thereby providing an operational edge over potential adversaries.
Boaz Levy IAI’s VP and the general manger of its systems, missiles and space division, said on May 17 that the Barak 8 provides the ultimate protection against a variety of aerial platforms and munitions including aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aircraft and sea-skimming missiles. It is based on a sophisticated missile (developed in collaboration with Rafael), state-of-the-art phased array multi mission radar, two-way data link, and flexible command and control system.
The system’s radar manufactured by ELTA Systems, an IAI group and subsidiary, is a multi-mission radar, supporting air defense missions. It delivers an accurate, high quality, real-time arena situation picture and extracts low Radar Cross Section (RCS) targets even in the toughest environmental conditions. It is a digital Active Electronic Steering Array (AESA) Radar System which incorporates new and advanced technologies.
Barak 8 can operate day and night, in all weather conditions, and successfully deals with simultaneous threats engagements, even in severe saturation scenarios.
The system has a very short reaction time and a fast missile vertical launch capability with 360 degree coverage. The system optimizes the coordination between the missile and batteries by using an advanced broadband communication network. The missile deals with short, medium, and long range threats, where its interconnectivity among the various ships in the naval task force enables it to be a multi-layer air and missile defense System of Systems.
Levy said that a typical ship installation includes 4 vertical launchers each carrying 8 missiles.
The Barak-8 has an effective range of 70 km. There is a plan for an extended range version “It will have an add on booster and it will give the missile a 150 km range” the IAI senior official said.
A Barak-8 system is also deployed on an Israeli navy’s SAAR -5 missile ship and will be part of the weapon systems that will be installed on the Israeli navy’s new ships to be built in Germany.
“The interest in the Barak-8 system is big and we have other customers but i cannot be specific” Levy said.
He explained that the need is to defend vessels from a variety of threats “a ship equipped with the system is capable of protecting a city when it is in the port “
He revealed that one growth potential is to enable the Barak-8 to intercept targets that are beyond visual range (BVR). This by connecting it integral command and control systems to other sensors.