Israel to pip US as India’s largest arms supplier with Barak missiles, UAVs

Israel is set to overtake the US and become India’s largest foreign arms supplier in 2016-17 with lucrative contracts to supply advanced anti-aircraft and anti-missile defence systems to the army and navy.

On Thursday, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) announced the award of Indian defence contracts totalling “almost $2 billion” (Rs 13,000 crore).

One mega-contract worth over $1.6 billion, which an IAI release termed “the largest defense contract in Israel’s defense industries’ (sic) history” is for the supply of Medium Range Surface to Air Missiles (MR-SAM) to the Indian Army.

In addition, IAI says it has been awarded a contract to supply additional Long Range Surface to Air Missiles (LR-SAMs) anti-ship missile defence systems for INS Vikrant, India’s first home-built aircraft carrier, which is being constructed in Cochin Shipyard Ltd.

The Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) and IAI have jointly developed MR-SAM and LR-SAM. The DRDO developed the propulsion systems of the MR-SAM, while IAI developed the radar and guidance systems.

The LR-SAM, also called the Barak 8, detects and shoots down incoming anti-ship missiles (ASMs) at ranges out to 70 kilometres. Sea-skimming, hard-to-detect ASMs like the Harpoon and Exocet, which can be launched from aircraft, surface warships or submarines, are one of the greatest hazards a surface warship faces. The LR-SAM provides effective protection against the newest generation of these anti-ship missiles.

The MR-SAM, which uses the same missile as the LR-SAM, but a different radar and control systems, protects ground-based targets like air bases and army units. It detects incoming enemy aircraft while they are well over a hundred kilometres away and destroys them at ranges out to 70 kilometres.

The DRDO told Business Standard that the Indian Air Force (IAF) is the lead service for the MR-SAM development project, contributing 90 per cent of the Rs 10,075 crore development cost. However, the Indian Army has also come on board, convinced of the value of this system.

In March 2009, the IAF signed a contract for 18 MR-SAM fire units (each equipped with 24 missiles), which were to be delivered by October 2016. But with the first test having been conducted only last June, it is estimated that the MR-SAM will enter IAF service only by 2018.

The LR-SAM, in contrast, has already equipped the Indian Navy’s new Kolkata-class destroyers. In December 2015, INS Kolkata successfully tested two LR-SAM missiles. Now, with INS Vikrant scheduled to be commissioned next year, it will be fitted with the LR-SAM.

Besides the lucrative market for air defence systems, Israel is a big player in the “unmanned aerial vehicle” segment, having supplied Searcher drones to the Indian military, and an order for the Heron-TP armed drones being processed currently.

Also in the pipeline are two Israeli Phalcon Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS), which are essentially powerful airborne radars mounted on the Ilyushin-76 transport aircraft. Besides the flying crew, an AWACS carriers “fighter controllers”, who observe enemy aircraft movement in a range of several hundred kilometres, and direct friendly aircraft sorties to respond to that.

Israel’s success in the Indian defence market is remarkable, considering that it does not supply lucrative “capital platforms” like warships, aircraft and tanks. It supplies mainly “systems”, that enhance the performance of capital platforms supplied by other countries.

 

 

 

 

 

Source:- Business Standard

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