reproduce below an input from a very knowledgeable ‘defence
analyst’ commenting on the Barak firing reported by the media
By A Defence Analyst
The Indian Navy’s latest Rs 1000-crore Barak anti-missile
defence programme, acquired from Israel, received a setback last
week when it failed to hit its decoy target off the Mumbai coast.
Highly placed sources said the Barak defence system was tested
twice from the Navy’s indigenous showpiece, guided missile
destroyer INS Delhi. The Barak missiles’ test target was a
Russian surface-to-surface missile with a deactivated warhead.
However, rather than destroying the Russian target, the missile is
said to have taken off and plunged straight into the Arabian Sea.
The same thing happened in the second round of tests.
reply to a detailed questionnaire from The Sunday Express, the
Navy spokesman said: ‘‘We have no comments to offer.’’ But
the fact is that Israeli manufacturers Rafael and Israeli Aircraft
Industries and Navy officials in Mumbai are working overtime to
fix the problem.
Navy has contracted for at least eight Barak systems at the cost
of over Rs 1,000 crore. The proposal for purchase of Barak was
moved by then CNS Admiral Sushil Kumar and then Western Naval
Commander Madhavendra Singh during the Kargil war to boost
India’s sole aircraft carrier INS Viraat’s air missile
only tested Barak system is on the Godavari-class guided missile
frigate INS Ganga. The vertically launched Barak is designed to
counter sub or missiles such as Exocet or Harpoon (currently in
Pakistan’s inventory) within a range of 10 km. The system has an
eight-missile launcher, currently used by the Israeli, Singapore
and Chilean Navy. Another problem area the Navy is working on is
to integrate the Israeli Barak system with its Russian radars and
other systems. Top defence officials call it a
Rafael IAI brochure shows the Barak to be a small 98 kg missile,
2175 mm long with a 22 kg warhead. It is controlled by a powerful
X and Ka band immune track guidance radar and 8 Barak
missiles are cannisterised in a vertical launch unit (VLU).
It is world's most compact system and easily installable.
wish to reiterate that the government and MoD should be more open
in providing authentic information to the lay public, as the media
pick up small strands of information (which perhaps they do not
understand!) and blow them out of all proportion. Missile firings
are akin to target practice and if sometimes you do not hit the
target it is not the end of the world. Therefore to impute that
the entire purchase of a system was suspect because it once failed
to hit a target is to be naive to say the least.
should be understood that AA Missile Defence Systems are the most
difficult to maintain and require the most accurate electronic
tuning of different systems to achieve 100% accuracy. It requires
constant practice in peacetime to be ready for the ultimate test
during war. In any service around the world, missile firings are
conducted regularly and in the past the Indian Navy is known to
have had very good results.
USA and Europe AA firings have failed at times and even the Shtil
system fitted on board INS Talwar did have initial hiccups. All
professional armed forces carry out missile firings, learn lessons
and then correct any mistakes so that they are ready for war.
should be clearly understood and therefore the media analysis
above, which appeared recently, should be taken with a pinch of