INDIA TO GO AHEAD ON ADVANCED AIR DEFENCE SYSTEMS WITH ISRAEL
By Bulbul Singh
01 Dec 08. The Indian government is to build an advance range anti-ballistic missile system worth $3 billion jointly between IAI of Israel and the Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation
[DRDO]. The decision to go ahead with the development of
advanced air defence ballistic missiles comes even as India is
developing its homegrown Air Defence System, Prithvi.
However, sources in the Indian defence ministry say, “Although a formal decision has been taken to design and develop a 150
kilometers range surface-to-air missile air defence system jointly between IAI of Israel and DRDO, there is a divided opinion amongst senior defence planners on allowing the project to go ahead now that the homemade ballistic air defence systems is also under development.”
A section of Indian defence planners have argued that the homegrown DRDO system will suffer if the $3 billion IAI-DRDO anti-missile system is sanctioned. They argue that it could mean wastage of resources
for the air defence system under development.
The IAI-DRDO project will produce a Barak air defense surface-to-air missile with an extended range of up to 150 kilometers. In 2005 the two
countries signed an agreement to co-produce Barak with a range of up to 70 kilometers.
The extended range Barak system will consist of one acquisition radar, one guidance radar, one command and control center, three launchers, each with have eight missiles
Prithvi has already been fired, with Isreali help, successfully for the Exopheric interception (beyond the atmosphere) and also the endopheric test (below the earth’s atmosphere). The homegrown system has an indigenous long range active phased array radar jointly developed between DRDO and Israel. The radar, Green Pine, was received from Israel with the permission of the United States in 2001.
It has the capability to track 200 targets at a range of about 600 kilometers. The defence planners who are not in favour of the IAI-DRDO Barak extended range project have argued that the new project has yet to begin and is still at the drawing board stage, while the homegrown project is already in advanced stages.
However, sources added that the $3 billion IAI-DRDO project would be formally inked before the ruling United Progressive Alliance government goes for the general elections before the
end of their term in mid-2009.