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LRSAM's successful test: How significant is it in India's scheme of things?

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New Delhi, Jan 26: The sucessful test firing of the long-range surface-to-air missile (LRSAM) or Barak-8 significantly bolsters India's Air Defence (AD) capabilities. A key element of the air-defence of any nation is the Surface Air Defence Missiles.

Ability of country to thwart incoming aerial threats like cruise missiles, UAVs, helicopters etc, has emerged as an important aspect in the modern warfare. If the ability of a country to strike back is key in the current geopolitical situation, then the capability to defend against the incoming aerial attacks is equally important.

Representational Image

High technological prowess is required to develop an air defence sytem as air threat needs to be detected well in time, tracked and then destroyed well before it can cause any damage.

Barak 8 is an Indian-Israeli surface-to-air missile (SAM), designed to defend against any type of airborne threat including aircraft, helicopters, anti-ship missiles, and UAVs as well as ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and combat jets. Both maritime and land-based versions of the system exist.

On January 24, LRSAM was "successfully" test-fired from a warship off the coast of Odisha against an aerial target. The missile destroyed the target with a direct hit and all the mission objectives were met during the test-firing.

[Swordfish radar: Key to India's multi-layered air defence system]

LRSAM or Barak 8 features a dual pulse rocket motor as well as Thrust vector control, and possesses high degrees of maneuverability at target interception range. A second motor is fired during the terminal phase, at which stage the active radar seeker is activated to home in on to the enemy track. Barak 8 has been designed to counter a wide variety of air-borne threats, such as; anti-ship missiles, aircraft, UAVs drones and supersonic missiles. When coupled with a modern air-defence system and multi-function surveillance track and guidance radars, Barak 8 enables the capability to simultaneously engage multiple targets during saturation attacks.

Multilayered air defence system:

With other components of air defence, Barak-8 can add a new layer to India's ambition of developing an effective defence sheild.ndia is already working on two-tier Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) Program and has Aakash Missiles to take on aerial attacks. The S-400 Triumph missile defense system is a significant strategic upgrade in India's military hardware. In fact India badly needed such a system given the hostile surroundings and growing capabilities of China and Pakistan.

Defence and strategic matters expert Major General PK Sehgal told OneIndia that India's air defence capabilities badly needed an upgrade.

"We did not have anything (in terms of air defence) between 400 kms and 25 kms. This is a system which can take on the enemy from 30 kms to 400m kms. Then you are also buying Israeli Barack 8 systems which has a range of 70 kms extendable upto 100 kms. So, you will have a layered air defence to take take on threats from China and Pakistan," said Major General PK Sehgal.

AAD infographics

Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) program:

Another system that India has been working on is Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) program. A Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) is a system that is designed to intercept and destroy an incoming ballistic missile on its trajectory much before it approaches the target. India's ballistic missile defence system provides a two-layered shield - 'exo' and 'endo'. What this effectively means is that the system provides protection both against ballistic missiles that are outside (exo) as well as inside (endo) the earth's atmosphere.

[Akash, PAD, AAD and now S-400 triumf air defence missile system]

Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) is supposed to tackle incoming missiles at ranges of 80-120 km (exo-atmospheric interception). On the other hand, the advanced air-defence (AAD) mainly consists of Akash Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAM) that can intercept incoming missiles at ranges of 15-30 km (endo-atmospheric interception).

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