The first long-range surface to air missile (LRSAM) jointly developed by Israel and India was handed over to the Indian Navy on Tuesday at a ceremony in the city of Hyderabad.
The LRSAM, or Barak-8 naval air defense system, is jointly developed by India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) in close collaboration with Israel's Israel Aircraft Industry (IAI).
The LRSAM is an advanced air and missile defense system, a unique joint development by IAI and India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) in collaboration with IAI subsidiary ELTA, RAFAEL and various Indian companies.
The system comprises of advanced phased-array radar, command and control systems, as well as launchers and missiles with advanced RF seekers. With state-of-the-art technology, the system provides missile defense against a variety of aerial, naval and air-borne threats.
The system is operational with the IDF, Indian Air Force, Indian Navy and according to a statement released by IAI, will be operational in the near future with the Indian Army as well.
India’s Minister of Defense Arun Jaitley called the delivery of the system “a historical day for India” in which the Indian Navy has become “the proud owners of one the most sophisticated systems in the world.”
Jaitley praised the collaborative effort of developing the LRSAM and said that the delivery of the first missile “coming out from indigenous production line is an example of the Indian economy and industry capabilities. We must continue developing the local infrastructure and manufacturing as part of our defense capabilities.”
“India needs to be prepared for any scenario therefore we should equip our operational forces with the best of advanced technology,” he added.
IAI has been working with the Indian defense industries and armed forces, such as the Coast Guard, Navy, Air Force and Army for the past 25 years. The partnership is part of a strategic collaboration to transfer technology to benefit Indians as part of New Dehli’s ‘Made in India’ policy.
Boaz Levi, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Systems, Missiles & Space Group stated that "the delivery of the first missile manufactured in India to India's defense arms is a technological dream come true. It is another exciting step in the many-years collaboration between IAI, India's government, India's DRDO and other partners and one that reflects a technological and engineering effort of the highest level."
India has become one of Israel’s largest buyers of military hardware. While visiting Israel in May, Indian Rear-Admiral R.B. Pandit said that India has “benefited from defense technologies, and a number of significant defense acquisitions have been made from Israel.”
He made specific reference to the Barak-8 missile system, which he said “provides the Indian Navy new and greater air-defense capabilities.”
Over the past few years, IAI has awarded several contracts for air and missile defense systems to India, including a string of deals worth $2.5 billion in recent months. In April IAI announced that it had been awarded the largest defense contract in Israel’s defense industry history after signing a $1.6 billion mega-contract with the Indian Army for the medium-range surface-to-air missile (MRSAM) advanced air and missile defense systems as well as additional LRSAM air and missile defense systems for Indian aircraft carriers.