The Indian-Israeli Barak-8 programme – more than meets the eye

Cooperation between Israel and India includes the main ingredients of vast defence collaboration between the two countries. This is so because of the budget and technology involved.

The Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Barak-8 missile system is the focus of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed recently between Bharat Electronics Limited India (BEL) and the Israeli company.

The Barak-8 is a long-range anti-air and anti-missile naval defence system being developed jointly by IAI and the Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO) of India.

The missile is designed to defend ships from aircraft, unmanned air systems and anti-ship missiles and is expected to enter service with the Indian navy this year.

In January 2006 India and Israel signed a $350 million agreement to co-develop a new generation of long-range surface-to-air missiles for the Indian navy.

Subsequently, in April 2009 Israel signed a $1.1 billion deal to deliver the Barak-8 air defence system to India. Deliveries are expected to be concluded by 2017.

For several years IAI has been engaged in joint development programmes with the DRDO and Indian defence industries for the Indian navy and Indian air force, including joint manufacturing of sub-systems.

According to the MOU, BEL will function as the lead integrator and produce major sub-systems. IAI will continue to act as the design authority and produce sub-systems as a main sub-contractor of BEL.

Barak-8 missiles will be installed on the three Project 15A Kolkata-class guided-missile destroyers under construction at the Mazagon shipyard in India.

Delivery of the first vessel is scheduled for later this year. Operational status aboard the ship is expected next year.

The cooperation between India and Israel on the Barak-8 has a far more reaching meaning than it may appear at first glance.

It brings the resources of the two countries together – and this will undoubtedly result in more such programmes.

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