Trishul is blunt, so Naval forces seek Barak




Trishul is blunt, so Naval forces seek Barak

NEW DELHI: With the much-delayed indigenous surface-to-air (SAM) "Trishul" missile programme still floundering and nowhere near completion, the Navy is planning to go in for several more Israeli "Barak" anti-missile defence systems for its frontline warships.


The Navy had pressed for installation of six "Barak" systems on its "Delhi Class" destroyers and "Godavari Class" guided-missile frigates, in addition to the one already approved for its solitary aircraft carrier INS Viraat, during the 1999 Kargil conflict. This was necessary since Pakistan had acquired "Harpoon" and "Exocet" air and submarine launched sea-skimming anti-ship missiles which posed a dangerous threat to Indian warships.


"We had no effective answer to them. Western countries were not prepared to part with their advanced anti-missile defence systems. So, we turned to Israel," said an officer.


Now, the Navy wants at least 10 more "Barak" systems, valued around Rs 100 crore each, to be installed on its other warships, including "Brahmaputra Class" frigates, to further bolster its sea-based defences.


"Despite almost 70 flight-tests, the 'Trishul' programme is simply not materialising due to repeated snags in the guidance, control and propulsion systems. With the 'Barak' system already being installed on seven warships, it makes sense to make our anti-missile systems Barak-centric and bring in standardisation," said sources.


Similarly, the Navy plans to centre its anti-ship attack capabilities around the 290-km-range supersonic cruise missile "BrahMos" being developed jointly with Russia.


The fire-and-forget "BrahMos", which can fly at a velocity of up to 2.8 Mach and is to be inducted in another six months, is more advanced than the anti-ship missiles with China or Pakistan at present.


The quick-reaction "Barak" SAM, in turn, is an integrated system, which employs vertically-launched missiles and "command to line-of-sight" radar guidance, to destroy incoming sea-skimming missiles and hostile aircraft.


"We have tested the 'Barak' system successfully. Sea-skimming missiles are difficult to destroy since they are small, fly seven-15 metres above sea level and get lost in the sea clutter," said an officer.


Israel has emerged as the second-largest supplier of military hardware and software to India after Russia in recent years, especially in the field of surveillance and anti-missile systems. Incidentally, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will be coming to India on a historic visit early next month.

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