India is buying another 300 Israeli Barak missiles, at a cost of about $1.6 million each, for the Barak anti-aircraft missile/aircraft systems it has already bought. The Barak missiles weigh 216 pounds each (with a 48 pound warhead) and have a range of ten kilometers. The missiles are mounted in an eight cell container (which requires little maintenance) and are launched straight up. 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. Each Barak system (missile container, radar, computers and installation) costs about $24 million.
Israel weapons have a solid reputation for reliability and effectiveness. Israeli success in several wars adds to the appeal of their armaments. U.S. and Israeli arms manufacturers often work together, which also gives Israel an edge when selling their equipment. The Barak II was originally bought because of delays in producing the similar Indian Akash system, which has been in development since the 1980s. Akash was recently declared ready for service, and actually purchased by the Indian Air Force.
The Barak system was also purchased to do what the Indian made Trishul was designed to do. Barak works, but Trishul is made-in-India, and that counts for a lot. Trishul has been in development for over twenty years. First test firing took place in 1991, and the manufacturer declared test firings completed by 1998. The armed forces, however, rejected the missile, as not ready for service. So development continued, until 2003, when the project was cancelled. But the project, which has cost nearly $200 million so far, had political friends. Development was allowed to continue, even though neither the army or the navy wants it. The missile has a range of some nine kilometers, and has suffered mainly from reliability problems, particularly with its guidance system.