Israel Aerospace Industries has signed a $630 million deal with the Indian state-owned aerospace and defense company Bharat Electronics Limited to provide India with the naval version of the aerial defense system Barak 8 for four navy ships.
Prior to signing the contract, which also includes the procurement of radar, missiles and a command and control board for the system, India’s Western Naval Command successfully conducted a trial firing of the MRSAM (medium-range surface-to-air missile) from the INS Kochi as part of operational interception trial, demonstrating again the system’s operational capabilities in a representative scenario with a real target.
The MRSAM, jointly developed by IAI and India’s Defense Research and Development Organization and manufactured by Hyderabad-based Bharat Dynamics Limited, “successfully tracked and intercepted a low-flying high-speed target at enhanced range with pin-point accuracy,” the New Indian Express website quoted an official as stating last week.
According to IAI, the MF-STAR naval radar system aboard the Indian ship identified the airborne threat and tracked its flight course. The missile engaged the target and, using its homing system, aligned its course to navigate itself toward the target, which it hit and destroyed.
In April, IAI announced that it had been awarded the largest defense contract in Israel’s defense industry’s history after signing a $1.6 billion mega-contract with the Indian Army for the MRSAM advanced defense systems as well as additional long-range surface-to-air missile (LRSAM) defense systems for Indian aircraft carriers.
“The new contract adds to other deals signed in the last decade by IAI with India’s defense forces, reinforcing IAI’s global leadership position in air and missile defense systems,” Joseph Weiss, IAI president and CEO, said in a statement.
“The inclusion of Indian governmental company BEL for the first time is a step up in our relationship with the Indian industry as part of the ‘Make in India’ policy. This unique project represents the close collaboration between India’s DRDO, IAI and the defense forces of both countries. We will proceed to implement it with joint efforts,” he added.
IAI has been working with the Indian defense industries and armed forces, including the coast guard, navy, air force and army, for the past 25 years as part of strategic collaboration based on the transfer of technology to benefit Indians as part of New Dehli’s ‘Made in India’ policy.
Boaz Levi, executive vice president and general manager of the Systems, Missiles and Space Group, added that IAI “takes pride, along with our partners in India, in the great results of the trial conducted last week, which reestablishes the system’s reliability and quality as well as its advanced technological capabilities. IAI is in an accelerated process to supply the various air and missile defense systems to the client. We will continue to support our partners in India in advancing the industry and security of both countries.”
India has become one of Israel’s largest buyers of military hardware, with annual defense deals worth over $1b. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to undertake a historic first visit to Jerusalem in early July to highlight the growing bilateral relationship between the two countries. According to Indian reports, additional arms deals with Israel’s military industries are expected to be announced while he’s in Israel.