India’s sole aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya on Friday has carried out the maiden test of the newly installed Barak short range surface-to-air missile.
“During the firing carried out in the Arabian Sea, the missile was fired against a live, low-flying, high-speed target. The target was successfully engaged and destroyed,” a Navy officer was quoted as saying by The Hindu today.
The 44,500 tonne carrier was commissioned into the Navy in November 2013 at Severodvinsk in Russia and was originally scheduled to have the long range surface- to-air missile system under joint development with Israel.
But delay in its development resulted in the carrier being inducted into the force without its own air defence system, and forcing it to rely on support ships in the carrier battle group for air cover.
The firing was conducted as part of the operational readiness inspection of the Western Fleet by Vice-Admiral Girish Luthra, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Western Naval Command, from March 21-23.
Barak 8 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, the missile has been increased to a maximum range of 90 km following "range upgrade discussions" between India and Israel during November 2014.