First operational test of MRSAM naval air defense missile by the Indian Navy

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On January 2019 Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) announced it has entered this week agreements worth $93 million for provision of Naval MRSAM (Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missile) systems.

The contracts were entered with the Indian Navy and Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL). Under the contracts, IAI will provide complementary systems for the air defense system (ADS).

They involve follow up orders for a range of maintenance and other services for various sub-systems of IAI’s advanced MSRAM ADS.

Last Thursday, the Indian navy, in collaboration with IAI, held an interception test aboard INS Chennai, which assessed for the first time potential collaboration between ships.

The interception scenario, which was executed successfully, demonstrated how the operational force of the defense system can be doubled regionally, rather than topically.

Boaz Levi, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Systems, Missiles & Space Group said, “The follow-up orders provide additional evidence of the satisfaction and trust of our Indian partners in respect to the MRSAM family.

The Thursday test demonstrated the advanced technological capabilities of the air defense system as well as our collaboration between IAI, its partners in India’s navy, the local Indian industry and our colleagues at IAI’s ELTA and RAFAEL.

This is a badge of honor for the entire Israeli industry”.

The MRSAM family is an operational air-defense system used by Israel’s navy as well as by India’s naval, air and ground forces.

It has been uniquely developed by IAI in collaboration with Israel’s Ministry of defense, India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), RAFAEL, IAI’s Elta and additional industries in India and Israel.

To date, MRSAM achieved over $6 billion in sales.

It provides broad as well as topical defense against a range of assault air, marine and ground threats.

MRSAM comprises several key state-of-the-art systems, including a digital radar, command and control, launchers, and interceptors with advanced homing seekers.

In may 2019 – The Indian Navy conducted the first firing test of an MRSAM naval air defense missile employed in the full Joint Taskforce Coordination (JTC)  mode.

JTC implements the MRSAM ‘Cooperative Engagement’ operating mode which sets the system apart from other air defense systems.

The recent trial comprised two complex scenarios involving multiple platforms and several simultaneous targets.

On the recent test, conducted on 15 May at India’s western seaboard, two destroyers, INS Kochi and INS Chennai detected multiple targets using their MF-STAR radars and launched several missiles at those targets. 

What was different was that only one of the ships controlled the engagement, intercepting different aerial targets at extended ranges by the missiles fired from both ships using the systems’ JTC mode.

The test demonstrated the ability of MRSAM to operate wide area air defense, distributing assets and control over different platforms and locations.

Previous MRSAM firing trials were conducted on a single platform, in the stand-alone mode.

The new engagement capability derives from the network-centric architecture of the Barak 8 system and its MF-STAR 360º radar system that harness multiple sensors, launch platforms, and effectors into a single air defense system.

By fitting a data-link to each interceptor, missiles can be updated via data-link after launch by any network member.

With this capability, Barak-8 missiles can receive target updates on their mid-course, with updated target information, retasking the highest priority target, until the missile enters the terminal engagement.

This capability maximizes missile utilization and battle economy.

It enables a single ship to orchestrate the air defense mission or allocate missions to other vessels when required.

MRSAM Surface to Air Missiles (also known as Barak 8) are fitted onboard the Kolkata Class Destroyers (Kolkata, Cochi, and Chennai) and would also be fitted on all future major warships of the Indian Navy.

The test was carried out by the Indian Navy, DRDO and Israel Aerospace Industries. Bharat Electronics (BEL) is the prime contractor for the Indian MRSAM system.

Cooperative engagement involves using data-links between ships and platforms to have a “common picture” of a battle situation and taking control of weaponry on multiple platforms.

In addition to the target hard-kill, such capability also improves the battlegroup’s resilience against jamming.

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