Could Barak-8 be the game changer for Indian Armed Force’s
Barak 8 also known as LR-SAM or as MR-SAM is an Indian-Israeli surface-to-air missile (SAM), designed to defend against any type of airborne threat including aircraft, helicopters, anti-ship missiles, and UAVs as well as cruise missiles and combat jets out to a maximum range of 70 km, however, reports suggest the missile has been increased to a maximum range of 90 km following “range upgrade discussions” between India and Israel during November 2014.Some news agencies have referred to the missiles range at 100 km.Both maritime and land-based versions of the system exist.
The Barak-8 has been designed to defend against a variety of short-to-long-range airborne threats, including fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, drones and projectiles. It incorporates a state-of-the-art phased array multi- mission radar, two-way data link, and a flexible command and control system that enables it to simultaneously engage multiple targets day and night and in all-weather conditions. Due to the comprehensive simulation and preliminary subsystem testing, only three flight tests are sufficient to clear the system for operational induction. Additional tests will follow the initial phase to further explore the system’s performance and capability enhancements.
Barak 8 is based on the original Barak 1 missile and is expected to feature a more advanced seeker, alongside range extensions that will move it closer to medium range naval systems like the RIM-162 ESSM or even the SM-2 Standard. Israel successfully tested its improved Barak II missile on July 30, 2009. 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.
This missile was primarily developed by Israel to equip its warships to protect them from the Yakhont missiles which its neighbor was procuring. Israeli ships carried only short range SAMs and didn’t have modern radars capable of handling a dedicated attack by its enemies using Yakhont missiles. The answer to this problem was the extremely agile and accurate Barak-8 which packed the best available technology into a medium sized missile. With a max range of 90+ km, it operates in conjunction with the MF-STAR radar which can detect sea skimming missiles at 30-35 km range. It combined a medium range and short range missile into one missile, having a minimum engagement range of just 300 m and max of 90+ km. There are claims that a single Barak-8 can stop a BrahMos as close as 500 m from a ship. One of the reasons behind the claims is that the Barak-8 is very accurate and has an active homing radar seeker, which enables the ship to technically forget about the missile after its launch and the missile finds the target on its own although the ship does provide guidance and mid-course updates.
According to Defence Experts, the missile system delivers an accurate, high quality, real-time arena situation picture and extracts low Radar Cross Section (RCS) targets even in the toughest environmental conditions. It is a digital Active Electronic Steering Array (AESA) Radar System which incorporates new and advanced technologies.
The Barak 8 missile system can operate by night as well as by day in addition to all weather conditions. It is capable of successfully dealing with simultaneous threats engagements, even in severe saturation scenarios.
The system has a very short reaction time and a fast missile vertical launch capability with 360 degree coverage. The system optimizes the coordination between the missile and batteries by using an advanced broadband communication network.
Four variants have been proposed for service In Indian Army Navy and Airforce;
- Naval Barak-8 (70km) system designed for anti-air and anti-ship missile defence both long range as well point defence. This system also comprises of EL/M-2248 MF-STAR AESA radar. As per rumours it could also serve as a point defence ABM.
- MRSAM(70km) variant for the IAF, designed for air defence and cruise missile defence.
- A highly mobile shorter range variant (50km) for IA, designed for air defence as well anti-PGM capabilities which could possibly include point defence ABM capabilities (Nasr).
- An extended range version (150km) called Barak-8ER which in all likelihood will find its way to IN and IAF inventory.
Barak-8 as an AAM.
Indian air force is one of the proposed user of KS-172 and R-37. These are the long range missiles that were designed primarily for killing slower, less maneuverable platforms like large transports, refueling tankers, AWACS and other C4ISTAR platforms. But these missiles are practically useless for engaging highly maneuverable fighters because the low g-tolerance of these missile don’t allow them to do so.
By rule of thumb, an AAM needs to pull atleast 4 times more g-force than the target it is engaging, something the aforementioned missiles cannot do.
According to sources, Rafael and Raytheon are developing a Stunner (David’s sling program) based long range BVRAAM leveraging on the key technologies developed for program namely the dual seekers placed in its very unique “dolphin nose” and a triple pulse motor. So my question is what’s stopping India from doing the same? Here are few points in favour;
- Barak-8 is already in service with India as its co-developer.
- It has an excellent active seeker.
- It has 2-way datalink.
- It can be guided by Phalcon or DRDO AEW&CS.
- It has very high g performance. At 80g, it is twice that of contemporary AIM 120C5, SD-10 etc.
- At 60 kg, its warhead is five times larger than the one in AIM 120C5.
- At 4.5 meters and 275 kg weight it is not significantly longer or heavier than contemporaryBVRAAMs. At the same time it short enough to be carried internally by FGFA.
- By rule of thumb, an AAM has 3 times the range when the same missile is fired from the surface. This suggests that Barak-8 as AAM could very well have 200 km+ range.
- With use of existing technologies, this program could be very economically efficient.
With Barak-8 as BVRAAM, even lower rung IAF fighters like Tejas or Mirage could kill much superior Flankers from the Eastern side at much longer distances when backed by AWACS. This could be the solution to many of IAF problems like delays in aircraft acquisition, dwindling squadron strength, less reliance on Su-30MKI, more threats neutralized with higher sortie generation.
It has been reported that an ER (extended range) variant of the Barak 8 is under development, which will see the missiles maximum range increased to 150 km. Designed to engage multiple beyond visual range threats, the low launch signature Barak-8ER is understood to retain the same autopilot/inertial navigation system and active radar seeker guidance as the Barak-8, although some modifications to the software and to the missile control surfaces are likely. The booster increases the length of the missile at launch from its current 4.5 m to nearly 6 m, although the length in flight after the booster has been jettisoned may be slightly less than the base Barak-8 missile, if a TVC is not present. The missile diameter and fin spans are thought to be the same as the base Barak-8. The booster weight is currently unknown, although the missile’s weight after the booster has been jettisoned is the same as that for the current Barak-8 configuration.
Levy said that initial operational capability (IOC) for Barak-8ER will first be declared for the naval variant, followed by IOC for the land variant. He declined to comment on a launch customer for Barak-8ER, but noted “existing Barak-8 customers will be interested in this configuration because it offers additional capability to their current system”. The missile is expected to equip the Indian Navys future Visakhapatnam-class destroyers.
MR-SAM is the land based configuration of the missile. It consists of a command and control system, tracking radar, missile and mobile launcher systems. Each launcher will have eight such missiles in two stacks and are launched in a canister configuration. The system is also fitted with an advanced radio frequency (RF) seeker.
The Indian Army ordered five regiments of this version, which consists of about 40 launchers and 200 missiles for ₹17,000 crore (US$2.5 billion). It is expected to be deployed by 2023.
Indian Army, Navy and Airforce Deals To Defend Indian Borders
- Spyder DEAL 9 squadron = 18 batteries = 54 launchers around 400 missiles = $ 1200 million
- Barak 8 NAVAL DEAL = missiles no unknown
- Barak 8 IAF DEAL = 9 squadrons =18 batteries = 54 launchers = 490 missiles = $2400 million
- Barak 8 ARMY DEAL = 3 regiments = 9 batteries = 27 launchers = 200 missiles = $2400 million.