NEW DELHI — The Indo-Israeli jointly built Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LR SAM), which is also called Barak-8, was test fired Dec. 29 and 30 aboard an Indian Navy's Kolkata class destroyer, which will escort the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya from Russia.

Last year the Barak-8 was tested aboard an Israeli warship.

The official Dec. 30 press release from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said, "[The] Indian Navy today achieved a significant milestone in enhancing its Anti Air Warfare capability with the maiden firing of its newly developed LR SAM.The firing was undertaken on the Western Seaboard by INS Kolkata, wherein the missile successes fully intercepted an Aerial Target at extended ranges."

While no official would say when the missile would be inducted, a source in the Indian Navy said there will be three more tests of the missile, and the Barak-8 is likely to be inducted after two years.

The MoD press release said, "These Surface to Air Missiles are fitted onboard the Kolkata Class Destroyers and would also be fitted on all future major warships of the Indian Navy. This missile along with a a multifunction active electronically scanned array naval radar (MF STAR) would provide these ships the capability to neutralize aerial threats at extended ranges. With the successful proving of these systems, Indian Navy has become part of a select group of Navies that have this niche capability, which would provide a fillip to our Maritime Operations."

The missile is being developed by India's defense research agency, Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO); the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI); and the Indian Navy. Barak-8, with a range of 70 kilometers, is capable of protecting naval ships from multiple targets, including enemy aircraft, missiles and rockets.

Once airborne, the missile continues to receive data from the radar system, which predicts the threat's trajectory, and enables the missile to adjust its own path before destroying the target, said a senior Indian
Navy official, adding that the missile can detect multiple targets simultaneously.

At a cost of over $1.5 billion, the Barak-8 project was commissioned in 2006 and was scheduled to have been inducted in 2012. No official would either comment on the delay or when officially  the missile would be inducted aboard the Kolkata class destroyers.

India's state owned missile maker, Bharat Dynamics Limited will produce the Barak-8, and once inducted, 32 missiles will be initially fitted on one of the three Kolkata destroyers.

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