Israel’s largest defence firm signs $777 million missile deal with India’s Bharat Electronics

By Elton Gomes

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Israel’s largest aerospace anddefencee firm, announced Wednesday that it had secured a $777 million contract with India to supply a maritime version of the Barak 8 missile defense system.

The deal was signed with Indian state-owned company Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), which is currently the main contractor in the project.

The Long-Range Surface-to-Air Missile (LR-SAM), which is part of the Barak 8 family, is an air and missile defence system that is used by Israel’s navy as well as India’s navy, air, and land forces. IAI said that with the completion of the current deal, sales of the Barak 8 over the past few years have totaled over $6 billion.

“IAI’s partnership with India dates many years back and has culminated in joint system development and production,” IAI Chief Executive Officer Nimrod Sheffer said, Reuters reported. “India is a major market for IAI and we plan to … reinforce our positioning in India, also in view of increasing competition.”

What is the deal about

According to Israel’s business daily Globes, the IAI will supply LR-SAM Air and Missile Defense systems for seven ships of the Indian Navy. The LR-SAM is the marine version of the Barak 8 system.

The IAI is Israel’s largest aerospace and defence company. It develops, manufactures, and supplies defence systems, including anti-missile, aerial systems, and intelligence and cybersecurity systems.

The system provides extensive aerial and point defence against a wide range of threats to the marine area from the air, sea, or land.

The system brings together several advanced systems such as digital radar, command and control, launchers, interceptors with modern radio frequency seekers, data link, and system-wide connectivity.

What is the Barak 8 missile system

Barak 8 is an operational missile system that provides a full response to a range of threats. It has been built to cooperate with other systems, and it is equipped with operational flexibility to ensure maximum effectiveness on the battlefield.

The Barak 8 has been designed to defend against a variety of short-to-long-range airborne threats, including fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, drones, and projectiles.

The missile system incorporates a state-of-the-art phased array multi-mission radar, two-way data link, and a flexible command and control system. This allows users to simultaneously engage multiple targets day and night and in all weather conditions.

Earlier in August, Israel Navy’s Sa’ar-6 corvettes had announced that it will be using Barak 8 system to protect Israel’s exclusive economic zone and strategic facilities which are faced with diversified threats in the marine arena.

How will India benefit

“This particular capability, the LRSAM, will enhance the credibility of the Indian Navy by way of its trans-border military index…both in terms of range and precision,” Commodore C Uday Bhaskar (retd), director, Society for Policy Studies told the Hindustan Times.

The defence deal is also a reiteration of the deepening ties between India and Israel. India, which has been involved in territorial disputes with China and Pakistan, has signed a number of high-profile defence deals after Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014.

India is slowly becoming less reliant on its traditional ally — Russia — for military hardware, which is where its ties with Israel come in. Last year, India and Israel signed a military deal worth nearly $2 billion. The deal included the supply over several years of medium-range surface-to-air missiles, launchers, and communications technology.

Israel hails announcement

Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman hailed the completion of the deal. Liberman said in a tweet that the deal is “proof that security is investment, and not expenditure,” the Times of Israel reported. “The IAI is a national asset, which must be maintained and strengthened.”


Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius