Indian Firm Wins $100m Order for Barak 8 Surface to Air Missiles

Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems, a joint venture between Indian Kalyani Strategic Systems and Israeli Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, has been awarded a $100 million dollar contract from Rafael Advanced Defense Systems for the production of Barak 8 missiles for the Indian Army. Barak 8 already equips India’s Kolkata-class guided missile destroyers, and has been backfitted to at least one of the older Rajput-class destroyers.

This deal, the first of its kind, is part of a larger movement within the Indian defense industry. The contract ties into the “Make in India” initiative, sponsored by the Indian Government to increase Indian manufacturing capabilities. The order for Barak missiles is the first order for Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems (KRAS), but will not be the last partnership between them and their parent branch, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. Pini Yungman, head of Rafael’s air defense systems division said “As we mark the end of this project, we look forward to celebrating many more milestones with KRAS, as well as with our many other partners in India.”

INS Kolkata firing a Barak 8 long-range Surface-to-Air Missile. Indian Navy photo.

While Rafael is the original designer of the Barak missile system, including the predecessor Barak 1, KRAS will likely be the manufacturer of the majority of the missiles built. The company built a factory in Hyderabad to accommodate their growing orders. It is currently planning to build a separate facility for the development and production of rocket motors, explosives, and other energetics.

In the nearly two decades since the turn of the millennium, Indian military procurement has come under frequent criticism for its slow and stumbling nature, repeatedly canceling deals at the last minute that seemed certain. The latest canceling of a deal for Israeli-built Spike anti-tank guided missiles is just the latest example of this trend. However, the industrial know-how gained by KRAS in the manufacture of 1,000 missiles and their support equipment should be a significant step in the right direction in self-sustainability for the country’s troubled defense industry.

For KRAS, the future is looking bright. In an interview given by Kalyani Group chairman Baba Kalyani to the Economic Times of India, he said “This is exactly the way you are going to go forward and open up this sector to much larger opportunities. The next one will be bigger than $100 million, the third one will be bigger than that so you know this is how we will build up this business and capability in India within the Make in India confines.”