The Barak 8 is an advanced surface-to-air missile system developed through a collaborative effort between Israel’s Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO). This partnership, known as LRSAM / MRSAM / BARAK-8, was created with the purpose of safeguarding against a wide range of airborne threats, such as aircraft, helicopters, anti-ship missiles, UAVs, ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and combat jets.

It fulfils the requirement for both maritime and land-based versions of the missile system, delivering defence capabilities through innovation and the continuous enhancement of proven technology to effectively counter and neutralize incoming threats within the Earth’s atmosphere.

At its core, the Barak 8 features a highly versatile missile with a long operational range and a two-way data link for precise guidance. Its advanced active radar seeker ensures accuracy and the ability to track multiple targets simultaneously. The system is available in both naval and land-based configurations, making it suitable for a variety of defence scenarios.

At present, the Barak 8 missile defence system is manufactured by Israel’s Directorate of Research and Development (DDR&D), along with the contributions of Elta Systems, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, and India’s Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL).

Photo Credit: IAI / LRSAM / MRSAM / BARAK-8

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and India’s Defense Research & Development Organization (DRDO) joined forces to develop the Barak 8 missile systems. This missile radar system offers comprehensive 360-degree coverage, with the capability to intercept incoming missiles even when they are as close as 500 meters to the target, whether on a ship or on land.

IAI has extended its air defence portfolio beyond the Barak-8 with the development and current production of the Barak MX system. This innovative system transforms Barak into a multi-layered air defence solution, featuring smart launchers capable of carrying Short, Medium, and Extended-Range interceptors. The Smart Launcher offers versatile deployment options suitable for both maritime and land-based applications. It’s worth noting that, unlike the Barak-8 system, IAI took sole responsibility for developing the interceptors and sensors to meet the requirements of both domestic and international customers.

India has procured Barak 8 missiles valued at $5 billion, deploying them across its Air Force, Navy, and Army. Presently, the missile system is in active service aboard the Indian Navy’s Kolkata-class destroyers, Visakhapatnam-class destroyers, INS Vikramaditya, INS Vikrant, and Nilgiri-class frigates.

INS Kolkata Firing a Long-Range Surface-to-Air Missile
Photo Credit: Indian Navy / INS Kolkata Firing a Long-Range Surface-to-Air Missile ( LR-SAM )

Barak-8 / LR-SAM (Long-Range Surface-to-Air Missile) System

The Barak 8 missile system boasts exceptional levels of agility within its target interception range, thanks to its dual pulse rocket motor and thrust vector control capabilities. In the terminal phase, a second motor is engaged, activating the active radar seeker to precisely lock onto the enemy target. This comprehensive system is designed to counter a diverse array of airborne threats, encompassing anti-ship missiles, aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), drones, and supersonic missiles, making Barak 8 an effective neutralizer of such threats.

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When employed alongside a modern air defence system and multi-function surveillance, tracking, and guidance radars like the EL/M-2248 MF-STAR AESA found on Kolkata-class destroyers, Barak 8 offers the capability to effectively engage multiple targets simultaneously, even in scenarios involving saturation attacks.

A sophisticated long-range missile defence and air defence system, Barak 8 is characterized by Israel Aerospace Industries with the following key attributes:

  • Vertical launch Air defence missile-based weapon system to neutralize aerial targets up to a range of 70 km to 100 km max
  • The system is operational with three Indian armed forces ( Navy, Air Force & Army )
  • Propulsion– Dual pulse solid propellant rocket motor with smokeless propulsion
  • Guidance– Midcourse INS with course correction with radar data and terminal active seeker
  • Warhead– Pre-fragmented high energy ( weighing 60 kg )
  • Targets– Aircraft, subsonic and supersonic cruise missiles and helicopters
  • Single shoot-kill probability: 0.8 with 360-degree coverage
Photo Credit: airpra, aero india 2019
Photo Credit: aero India 2019 Barak-8 / 8ER

Barak-8 / MR-SAM (Medium-Range Surface-to-Air Missile) System

The land-based version of the missile is referred to as an MR-SAM. This variant comprises tracking radar, missiles, mobile launcher systems, and a command and control system. Each launcher accommodates eight missiles in two stacks and employs a canister-style launching mechanism. Additionally, the system features an advanced radio frequency (RF) seeker and boasts an impressive range of 70 kilometres.

The Indian Army placed an order for five regiments (40 launchers) of this version, each consisting of eight launcher vehicles and 200 missiles, at a cost of 17,000 crore (equivalent to US$2.1 billion).

Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems (KRAS), established as a partnership between India’s Kalyani Group, a prominent Indian multinational conglomerate, and Rafael, an Israeli defence technology company, secured a contract valued at $100 million from the Indian Army and Air Force in July 2019. The primary objective of this contract was to manufacture 1,000 MR-SAMs.

The production of these missiles takes place at the Kalyani Rafael factory located in Hyderabad, Telangana, with additional integration conducted by Bharat Dynamics Ltd. On March 16, 2021, KRAS officially announced the commencement of deliveries for the initial batch of MR-SAMs to the Indian Air Force. The Air Force has placed orders for 18 squadrons, each equipped with three launcher trucks, each capable of carrying eight missiles.

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On March 27, 2022, the DRDO carried out two MR-SAM experiments at ITR Balasore. These tests employed a long-range, high-speed aerial target, and the missile struck the target with precision, rendering it inoperative. The first test involved a medium-height, long-range target, followed by a test with a low-altitude, short-range target. These trials constituted the user trial for the Indian Army.

Photo Credit: IAI
Photo Credit: IAI
Barak 8ER Surface-to-Air Missile System

The Barak 8 is currently undergoing development to become an ER (extended range) variant, effectively extending its maximum range to 150 kilometres. The Barak-8ER is specifically designed for a low launch signature, enabling it to engage multiple threats beyond the visual range. It is anticipated that the Barak-8ER will maintain the same active radar seeker guidance and autopilot/inertial navigation system as the Barak-8, with potential modifications to software and missile control surfaces.

The inclusion of a booster increases the missile’s launch length from the current 4.5 meters to nearly 6 meters. However, the flight length after the booster has been jettisoned may be slightly less than that of the base Barak-8 missile if thrust vector control (TVC) is not implemented.

Specifications of the Barak 8 Surface-to-Air Missile System

  • Weight:  275.5 kg ( 606 lb ) without a booster
  • Length:  180 in ( 4.5 m )
  • Diameter: 8.9 inches ( main body ) and 1 ft 9 in with the 1st stage rocket motor of the Barak 8ER variant.
  • Warhead:  60 kg
  • Detonation:  High energy hard-kill mechanism
  • Engine:  Dual pulsed rocket motor
  • Operational range: Minimum 0.5 km to 70 km ( Barak8 / MR-SAM ) / 100 km ( Barak8 / LR-SAM ) and 150 km ( Barak ER )
  • Speed:  Mach 2 LR-SAM and Mach 3+ MR-SAM
  • Guidance:  2-way datalink. Midcourse INS with course correction ( Active radar homing, Infrared Homing Guidance )
  • Manoeuvrability: up to 50g
  • Launch Platform: 8-tube launcher mounted on heavy 8×8 configurations

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In conclusion, the Barak 8 missile system is a testament to the remarkable strides made in air defence technology, a collaborative effort between Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO). Its advanced capabilities, including a versatile missile system with a long operational range and precise guidance through a two-way data link, make it a formidable defence solution against a wide array of aerial threats. This includes aircraft, helicopters, drones, and anti-ship missiles, highlighting its adaptability and effectiveness in various operational scenarios.

Notably, the Barak 8’s ability to seamlessly integrate into both naval and land-based launch platforms underscores its versatility, enhancing the protection of critical assets in diverse settings. This system showcases the power of international cooperation in advancing defence technology and demonstrates a shared commitment among nations to invest in cutting-edge solutions for safeguarding their interests and securing their borders. As a symbol of innovation and collaboration, the Barak 8 is a significant asset in navigating the complexities of the modern security landscape.

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