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Hamas Sticks It To India
by James Dunnigan
September 9, 2014

A joint project between India and Israel develop and manufacture the new Barak 8 anti-aircraft missile in India has encountered another delay (of about a month) because of the fighting between Hamas and Israel. This came about when four Indian made rocket motors were shipped to Israel for testing. These Indian made rocket motors were designed to replace the Israeli made ones in the LRSAM missiles systems to be manufactured in Israel. India shipped these four rocket motors via air freight on a South Korean airline. The four rocket motors were on the ground in South Korea when the fighting broke out between Hamas and Israel in early July. South Korea, like many countries, banned its commercial airlines to fly passengers or freight into Israel for the duration of the fighting. It took over a month to get the rocket motors to Israel.  

India calls their version of the Barak 8 the LRSAM (Long Range Surface to Air Missile) and while most (70 percent) of the development work has been done in Israel, India is the major customer (buying $1.1 billion worth of LRSAM/Barak 8 for their warships). Because India has a larger navy they will be the major user. The two countries evenly split the $350 million development cost. The latest delay is in addition to many other delays caused by Indian problems developing special features India wanted and perfecting some Indian made components (like the rocket motors) in LRSAM. While the Barak 8 is already installed in some Israeli ships Israel cannot just install Barak 8 in Indian ships until Israel tests and approves Indian made components and design changes.

Over the last few years India found that they had a major problem with LRSAM; they did not have enough engineers in the government procurement bureaucracy to quickly and accurately transfer the Israeli technical data to the Indian manufacturers. In addition, some of the Indian firms that were to manufacture Barak 8 either misrepresented their capabilities or did not know until it was too late that they did not have the personnel or equipment to handle the manufacturing of Barak 8 components.

Meanwhile, Israel is already manufacturing Barak 8 and installed in on its three 1,075 ton Saar 5 class corvettes. This meant that Barak 8 was ready for action over a year before its scheduled 2015 service date. Israel is believed to have rushing this installation because Russia had sent high speed Yakhont anti-ship missiles to Syria and Barak 8 was designed to deal with this kind of threat. Barak 8 is also Israel’s first air defense system equal to the American Patriot (and similar systems like the U.S. Navy SM-2, Russian S-300, and European Aster 15). An improved Barak 8 would be able to shoot down short range ballistic missiles.

The Barak 8 is a 275 kg (605 pound) missile with a 60 kg (132 pound) warhead and a range of 70 kilometers. The warhead has its own seeker that can find the target despite most countermeasures. The missiles are mounted in a three ton, eight cell container (which requires little maintenance), and are launched straight up. The compact (for easy installation on a ship) fire control module weighs under two tons.

The original Barak 1 missile was introduced in the 1980s and is also used by the Indian Navy. Each Barak 1 missile weighs 98 kg (216 pounds) and has a 21.8 kg (48 pound) warhead. These missiles were also mounted in an eight cell container. The radar system provides 360 degree coverage and the missiles can take down an incoming missile as close as 500 meters away from the ship. The missile has a range of ten kilometers and is also effective against aircraft. India has bought over $300 million worth of these systems.

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