The Long Range Surface-to-Air Missile (LR-SAM), which can intercept incoming targets at a range of 80 km, is all set to be test-fired from a naval warship this month.
Navy officials said integration of the missile and all the systems on board the guided missile destroyer INS Kolkata were complete. “All preparations are done and the test can happen anytime.”
LR-SAM, also known as Barak NG (next generation), is being co-developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) from India and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) of Israel. The missile has been successfully test-fired against a flying target in Israel in November 2014.
Running behind schedule
The project, however, is running behind schedule. It was approved in 2005 with an initial funding of Rs. 2,606 crore and was to be inducted in 2011 but has been delayed due to technical difficulties.
The Navy intends to have LR-SAM as the standard fitment on all its future warships and also retrofit existing frontline ships.
While the LR-SAM will form the first tier of the multi-layered air defence at long ranges, the shorter ranges are handled by Barak-I missiles with range of around 10 km which are currently operational on all frontline warships including the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya.
The Navy intends to replace the Barak-Is and the Defence Ministry has in March given approval for the co-development of a Short Range Surface-to-Air Missile (SR-SAM), Maitri, by the DRDO with MBDA of France. Under this, nine SR-SAMs with 40 missiles each are to be initially developed.
The project has been in the works since 2007, but did not make progress as it clashed with the indigenous Akash project.
LR-SAM project, approved in 2005, is already running