A long range surface to air missile (LRSAM), also known as Barak-8, being developed by India’s DRDO and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), will undergo testing in India in October 2015.
According to V. Udaya Bhaskar, chairman and managing director of Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL), the DRDO agency which will manufacture the missile, will consider mass production of the LRSAM depending on the outcome of the trial. “The current trials are for the navy, and we will conduct parallel ground trials for the air force and army variants as well,” Bhaskar said on the side lines of a conference in Bangalore.
The Barak-8 LRSAM can be deployed against aircraft, helicopters and other enemy flying assets and can also be used be used as a missile interceptor. It is also said to be effective against low flying supersonic cruise missiles and sea skimming missiles. ts first test was conducted in Israel during November 2014.
India is believed to have invested US$1.5 billion in the Barak-8 program. “This is a breakthrough defense system that answers a broad range of land and sea threats, and has demonstrated impressive capabilities,” IAI CEO Joseph Weiss had said last November following the successful trial.
BDL plans to increase investment in missile manufacture to about INR 300-400 crore (US$ 50-60 million) to increase production of missiles such as the anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) from 6,000 units to 10,000 units.
Referring to new missile projects, Bhaskar said the Akash MKII missile will have increased range over the existing Akash SAM besides having smart systems with seekers which will have no ground-control. The defence ministry has given a mandate to complete this project in three years.
Another new project was the “Varunastra”, an underwater missile system being tested and almost in the induction phase. Plans are to create an exclusive unit for underwater weapons manufacturing and testing at Visakhapatnam in the next 2-3 years.