Wednesday, February 01, 2006

India, Israel Will Jointly Develop Long-Range Barak


The governments of India and Israel have finalized their biggest defense development agreement: The state-owned Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), Hyderabad, and Israeli Aircraft Industries (IAI) signed a pact Jan. 27 for the joint development and production of the long-range Barak air defense system for the Indian and Israeli militaries.

The agreement is based on joint investment by both companies to develop and manufacture unspecified numbers of Barak systems.

The initial co-development funding is about $350 million, of which IAI will finance 50 percent, for the next five years, a senior scientist of India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said. Additional funding will be infused by both parties as needed.

Israel also has projected some requirements for long-range Barak air defense systems, and it could source missiles and other systems from India, he said.

The agreement paves the way to meet the immediate requirements of the Indian Navy, the scientist said. Under this agreement, the DRDL and IAI will develop six long-range Barak systems for India’s stealth warships. The Navy is procuring three such warships from Russia, and the remaining will be built by the state-owned Mazagon Docks.

DRDO chief M. Natrajan said Feb.1 that he would gladly announce any major joint development program allowed by the government, but would neither confirm nor deny the Barak agreement with the Israeli company.

Joseph Fishman, IAI’s acting corporate vice president for marketing and business development, said IAI is not authorized to make statements on defense programs under a confidential agreement with its Indian customers, but said that IAI is not averse to joint development programs with India.

A senior Indian Defence Ministry official said there will be a transformation in the requirements of air defense systems for the three Indian military services. Based on these projections and the high cost of air defense systems, the ministry has approved the initiatives under which Indian state-owned agencies can forge joint co-development and co-production ventures with foreign companies because the technology will remain in India.

The Army and Air Force also have projected requirements for long-range air defense systems for a credible nationwide command-and-control structure.

The Navy as a policy has decided that in the future it will only mount long-range air defense systems and surface-to-air missile systems on warships that are under construction or yet to be built.

The Navy has already mounted short-range Barak air defense systems on many of its warships, including the aircraft carrier INS Viraat.