Israeli and Indian forces are mere months away from initial deployment of respective sea- and land-based Barak-8 defenses following a successful Monday morning test here capping six years of cooperative development.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) said the Nov. 10 full system intercept test validated all elements of the locally developed air and missile defense system and transitions the program into operational testing as it ramps up to serial production.
“The system is now operational,” said Boaz Levy, executive vice president and general manager of IAI’s Systems, Missiles and Space Group.
“All components of sea- and land-based systems were validated under realistic threat conditions,” Levy said of the vertically launched intercepting system designed for persistent defense against saturation attacks by long-range missiles and a spectrum of air-breathing threats.
Briefing reporters Nov. 10, Levy said he expected Barak-8 partners in Israel and India to declare initial operational capability (IOC) in “a number of months.”
At the same time, he said IAI and its team of subcontractors are already supplying the system to “a number of customers” whom he declined to identify beyond flagship users here and in New Delhi.
A delegation of Indian scientists and military officers joined Israeli counterparts participating in the milestone test against an air-breathing target mimicking advanced maneuvering capabilities of fighter bombers.
IAI President Joseph Weiss said the test marked wholesale validation of Barak-8 system elements, from the phased-array digital radar that detected and continuously tracked the target to the weapon-control system that calculated the optimal point for launching the intercepting missile that ultimately destroyed the targeted threat.
Conducted under “complex” conditions, Weiss said the test proved “impressive advanced capabilities” of Barak-8, the air and missile defense system flagged as “a major growth engine” for IAI.
Avinash Chander, head of the Indian Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and scientific adviser to India’s defense minister, characterized the Nov. 10 test as “an important milestone” in bilateral cooperation between India and Israel.
Ophir Shoham, a rear admiral in the Israel Navy reserves who heads the Israeli Defense Ministry’s research and development directorate (DDR&D), cited close bilateral ties forged from protracted cooperation in the face of technological challenges.
“The Barak-8 project expresses a constructive cooperation between the Indian DRDO and the Israeli DDR&D and the armed forces of both nations,” Shoham said. “Together, they have pushed forward this important program, overcoming technological challenges and earning achievements along the way.”