A MoU signed between Bharat Electronics Ltd. (BEL) and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has set the stage for joint development and indigenous production of a set of Long Range Surface-to-Air Missiles (LR-SAMs) to defend Indian warships from enemy attack.
BEL will be the lead integrator of this set of missiles and produce some of the major sub-systems, the company announced on Monday.
LR-SAMs, along with MR-SAMs (Medium Range SAMs) for the IAF, is among the major pursuits of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which is said to be developing some of them, also in a tie-up with IAI, at a cost of over around Rs. 2,500 crore.
It is based on Israel’s Barak missile system and will give the country an advanced, seeker-based missile capability. Indian missiles are ‘guided’ and the country does not have the ‘seeker’ technology that enables a missile to home in on the target.
The LR-SAM would track and engage multiple targets simultaneously over a 70-km range, defence sources said.
The project could span five to eight years.
President and CEO of the Tel Aviv-based IAI Joseph Weiss described the move as “a significant step forward in our joint work with India.” BEL was a strategic partner and this would enhance the IAI’s ability to provide high quality solutions and service to the Indian defence services.
BEL’s Director (Marketing) H.N. Ramakrishna, who signed the MoU in Tel Aviv on December 5, was quoted as saying: “We see the IAI as a strategic partner with a wide range of potential joint activities. This MoU demonstrates that BEL and the IAI can work closely together on the most sophisticated and advanced programmes, for the mutual benefit of both companies.” DRDO would continue to guide the activity.Boaz Levy, Director General of Air & Missile Defense Systems division of the IAI, signed the memorandum in the presence of Mr. Weiss and Eli Alfassi, Corporate VP, India Operations.