Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd.'s (IAI) (TASE: ARSP.B1) new missile, the Barak 8, is on the road to being declared operational by the Israel Navy. Sources involved in the multi-purpose defensive missile, whose trial last Thursday was successful, believe that that the Navy will be able to declare it operational within a few months.
The missiles system is designed to provide protection against a broad range of threats, including cruise missiles, warplanes, shore-based missiles, airborne missiles, and others. A Barak 8 battery, including the Adir radar system made by IAI subsidiary Elta Systems, a command and control system, and the missile launchers, is already installed on the deck of Israel Navy ship Lahav, from which the new interceptor was fired last week as part of a complete trial of the system.
Development of the system began in 2007. Indian defense R&D organization DRDO and the Ministry of Defense Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure are involved in its development. Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. is a subcontractor in the project, and is involved in the production of some of the new missile's systems.
IAI Program Director for Air & Missile Defense Systems Boaz Levy told "Globes" that the all of the instruments related to the weapons system had been tested in the recent trial, at the height of which an interceptor missile had been fired from the Lahav's deck. The missile was aimed at a UAV simulating an enemy target: "The system's radar spotted the threat, monitored it in flight, and the data were transferred from it to the Barak 8 command and control center, which launched the interceptor missile at the UAV. Using its homing-in device, the missile aimed itself at the target, made an accurate hit, and destroyed it completely. The missile blew it into fragments. The Barak 8 system, including all of its components, successfully met all the objectives set for it."
The successful trial focused on the system's capability in its naval application, and the interceptor missile launched at the target was simulating a deep-sea target. At the same time, IAI is also testing land-based applications of the same system. The radar and command and control systems stationed on land also successfully identified and monitored the target, and calculated its trajectory, but did not launch an interceptor missile at it. The Barak 8's interceptor range is 70 kilometers, making it capable of answering a wide variety of threats, including missiles like the Yakhont, which the IDF believes is part of Hezbollah's arsenal and which threaten Israel's ports, IDF ships, merchant vessels, and Mediterranean natural gas facilities.
According to professional sources involved in the missile's development program, the new defense system is also capable of providing a solution for surface-to-surface missiles and accurate rockets possessed by the Hezbollah Shi'ite terrorist organization that threaten infrastructure facilities in Israel and essential IDF bases all over Israel. Representatives of DRDO, a partner in the venture from the outset, also participated in the recent trial. The Indian army is already arming itself with these missiles and the accompanying systems under a huge $2 billion deal previously signed by the Indian Ministry of Defense with IAI.
The first systems have already been delivered for installment on Indian warships, and others will be installed later on aircraft carriers used by the Indian navy. A similar interception trial of the new defense system is scheduled to take place soon in India. IAI regards the Barak 8 as one of the company's key growth engines for the coming years. In addition to India and Israel, which are procuring it, other armies around the world have signed with IAI to procure the advanced system. Assembly line production of the missiles and their accompanying systems has already begun.
"The recent trial has given the system a substantial boost among countries that are still considering whether to procure it, and we believe that in the coming years, we will increase the number of signed contracts for its procurement. This is the spearhead of the defense systems, and a key growth engine for us," Levy said.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 29, 2015
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