JERUSALEM – Israel Aerospace Industries and the Defense Research and Development Organization of the Government of India successfully tested the MRSAM, a medium-range surface-to-air missile system.
MRSAM has been jointly developed by IAI and DRDO over the past few years and the system was tested in India in the last week of December, the Israeli company announced.
The system was developed as part of one of the largest defense treaties in Israeli history. In April 2017, IAI and India signed a $ 1.6 billion contract for the MRSAM system for Indian ground forces. Several Indian companies such as Bharat Electronics Limited, Larsen & Toubro and Bharat Dynamics Limited as well as the Israeli company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems were involved in the development.
The effort is one of the joint ventures underpinning India’s Make in India Defense Development Policy, which has signed several decades of contracts with Israeli companies to modernize the Indian military.
“The MRSAM air and missile defense system is an innovative system that has demonstrated its advanced capabilities against a wide variety of threats,” said Boaz Levy, President and CEO of IAI, who was appointed to the top in November and has close ties was involved in the development of the Barak 8 air defense system (MRSAM belongs to the Barak family.)
“Any attempt on an air defense system is a complex operational event, and the COVID-19 restrictions add a great deal of complexity. This process is yet another testament to the strong partnership between the IAI and India and the two nations, ”added Levy.
IAI’s Barak family air defense systems span various ranges from 35 to 150 kilometers and include the Barak MX, which the company markets worldwide as a single integrated solution against multiple simultaneous air threats. The MRSAM fills a medium gap (70 kilometers) in India.
The current test “validated all components of the weapon system” according to the IAI.
“Israeli specialists as well as Indian scientists and officers participated and witnessed the test,” added the company. “The flight test showed various extreme reference scenarios and validated various system capabilities.”
The test included a mobile launcher and a multimode radar. The IAI subsidiary Elta Systems manufactures multimode radar, the same type of radar as the Israeli air defense system Iron Dome. Traveling to and from the testing site in India and then back to Israel was challenging due to the pandemic as participants had to be quarantined and work in capsules.
MRSAM is used by the Indian Air Force and Navy. The marine version, named LRSAM, is based on the Barak 8 and was sold for seven ships for the Navy in 2018 under a $ 777 million contract with Indian Indian Bharat Electronics Limited. The Barak 8 made its first use at sea in 2015 and was shown to be effective on land in 2016. It can be used against threats at sea such as the Russian Yakhont missile, and the IAI says the land-based system can counter a variety of threats, including warplanes, missiles and UAVs.
The Israeli company wouldn’t say how many systems the multi-billion dollar deal will include as of 2017. The size of the Indian army, the country’s land mass and recent clashes have accelerated the purchase of arms. Israel’s barak sales to the Indian Navy began with one ship, followed by seven and five more.