Barak 8 Air Defense Complex: Unleashing Unprecedented Anti-Aircraft Prowess – A Stellar India-Israel Collaboration
The Barak 8 air defense complex, a cooperation product between India and Israel, is considered the most modern and unique anti-aircraft weapon in the world today, with “unthinkable” features.
Barak 8, also known as LR-SAM or as MR-SAM, designed to defend against any type of airborne threat including aircraft, helicopters, anti-ship missiles, and UAVs as well as ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and combat jets. It is available in both sea-launched and land-based variants.
The system has been officially put into service since 2016, and is receiving great attention from foreign customers. Barak 8 builds on the previous Barak 1, is equipped with a more advanced seeker and has extended range. The missile weighs 275 kg with a diameter of 225 mm, a fin span of 940 mm, and a length of 4.5 m.
The missile is propelled by a two-stage smokeless pulsed rocket motor with a thrust-vectoring nozzle, allowing a flight speed of Mach 2, a range of 70 km, and an engagement ceiling of 16 km, and carries a 60 kg HE-FRAG warhead. Later the range was reportedly increased to 100 km. Active radar guidance makes the Barak 8 totally autonomous once it acquires its target. When coupled with a modern air-defence system and multi-function surveillance track and guidance radars, such as the EL/M-2248 MF-STAR AESA on board Kolkata-class destroyers, Barak 8 enables the capability to simultaneously engage multiple targets during saturation attacks.
MRSAM 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 Seeker. It has a range of 70Kms.
LR-SAM is a naval long-range air defense missile system. The system is believed to have a range in excess of 100 km. This system is fitted on three India’s Kolkata class destroyers, 4 follow-on Visakhapatnam class destroyers and INS Vikrant aircraft carrier. Some other ships are being built for the Indian navy, including the project 17A frigates, that are fitted with this air defense system. Israeli Navy also operates a similar system on their vessels.
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 Barak ER is capable of intercepting tactical ballistic missiles with ranges of less than 500 kilometers, in addition to cruise missiles and aircraft. Currently, several countries are ordering this weapon including Azerbaijan and Morocco. Of course, India and Israel are the two main operators of Barak 8. Other countries like Finland, Germany, Poland or even Vietnam, are all eyeing Barak 8.