Procurement: November 28, 2003

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India is buying another $100 million worth of Israeli Barak anti-missile missile systems, after earlier ordering $270 million worth. Ten live tests, against Russian cruise missiles with dummy warheads, were conducted and were successful. Each Barak system (missile container, radar, computers and installation) costs about $24 million. The Barak is used on ships, to shoot down anti-ship missiles. 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. Ten kilometers may seem like a long enough range, but some modern cruise missiles come in a speeds of up to700 meters a second. That gives you two minutes and twenty seconds if you hit the target at maximum range. But small missiles, some using countermeasures, might not be confirmed as "hostile, incoming" until they are a few kilometers away (less than 50 seconds flight time.) Thus the Barak has an automatic mode, for situations where you are expecting difficult to detect missiles. Barak can handle two targets at once, which is important, as attacking with cruise missiles has long meant sending multiple missiles at a ship in order to overwhelm their defenses. Barak missiles move along at about 480 meters a second. In wartime, Pakistani ships, which are equipped with Russian and Chinese cruise missiles, would be vulnerable to Indian missiles, while Indian ships equipped with Barak would have a good chance of surviving a missile attack. Even so, some Indian legislators criticized the wisdom of equipping a $120 million warship with a $24 million defensive system. However, this does make sense if you happen to be on that ship during war time when their incoming enemy cruise missiles.

 


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