Armenia eyes cutting-edge Indo-Israeli MR-SAM defense system

As Armenia slowly shifts away from relying solely on Russian arms suppliers, Yerevan is adopting more favorable domestic and international policies. Reports indicate that Armenia is particularly interested in the Barak 8 surface-to-air missile system, a collaborative project between India and Israel, also known as LR-SAM or MR-SAM. 

India tested Barak 8 SAM - 2-way datalink and speed Mach 3
Photo credit: Twitter

The Indo-Israeli surface-to-air missile Barak 8 is a collaborative development between India’s Defense Research and Development Organization [DRDO] and Israel Aerospace Industries [IAI]. It is designed to provide a robust air defense solution against a variety of aerial threats. The missile is part of a larger system that includes a multifunctional surveillance and threat alert radar, a command and control system, and mobile launchers.

In terms of dimensions, the Barak 8 missile is approximately 4.5 meters in length and has a diameter of about 0.225 meters. It weighs around 275 kilograms, making it a relatively lightweight missile capable of being deployed on various platforms, including naval ships and land-based launchers. 

UAE seeks SAM, asking about Barak-8 with active RF/IIR seeker
Photo credit: Wikipedia

The Barak 8 missile boasts several advanced technical characteristics. It is equipped with an active radar seeker, which allows it to track and engage targets with high precision. The missile also features a two-way data link for mid-course guidance updates, ensuring accuracy even against maneuvering targets. Additionally, it has a thrust vector control system that enhances its agility and maneuverability during flight.

The Barak 8 system comprises several types of components and subsystems. These include the missile itself, the vertical launch system [VLS] for rapid and flexible deployment, the EL/M-2248 MF-STAR radar for target detection and tracking, and the command and control system for mission planning and execution. The integration of these components ensures comprehensive and effective air defense capability. 

The operational range of the Barak 8 missile is approximately 70-100 kilometers, depending on the specific variant and operational conditions. This range allows it to engage threats at significant distances, providing a wide area of coverage and enhancing the defensive perimeter of the protected asset.

UAE seeks SAM, asking about Barak-8 with active RF/IIR seeker
Photo credit: Wikipedia

The Barak 8 missile is designed to counter a wide range of aerial threats. It is effective against aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles [UAVs], and a variety of missiles, including anti-ship and cruise missiles. Its versatility and advanced guidance systems make it a formidable tool for modern air defense, capable of protecting both naval and land-based assets from sophisticated and diverse threats. 

It seems that Armenia is looking for more modern and more effective equivalents of the surface-to-air missile systems currently used by the Armenian army. Armenia currently operates the S-300 surface-to-air missile system, which is considered one of the primary equivalents to the Barak 8 in terms of capability. The S-300 system, developed by Russia, is designed to defend against aircraft, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles, providing a comprehensive air defense solution.

The Tor-M2KM is another surface-to-air missile system in service with the Armenian military. This system is highly mobile and can engage a variety of aerial threats, including aircraft, helicopters, and precision-guided munitions. Its versatility and mobility make it a valuable asset for Armenia’s air defense network. 

Russia sent 15 Tor-M2 SAMs and engineering equipment to Belarus
Photo credit: Pan.bg

Additionally, Armenia has acquired the 9K33 Osa surface-to-air missile system. Although older than the Tor-M2KM, the 9K33 Osa is still effective in providing short-range air defense against aircraft and helicopters. It is a self-propelled system, which enhances its operational flexibility and rapid deployment capabilities. 

According to IDRW.org, Armenia has shown interest in the Akash-NG, an advanced variant of the Indian Akash missile system. While Armenia has already acquired an earlier version, the Indian government has not yet approved the production of the Akash-NG. This means if Armenia wishes to purchase the Akash-NG, it might take at least three years. 

Given these factors, Armenia is weighing its options between the MR-SAM and Akash-NG. Sources from IDRW.org reveal that the MR-SAM is currently favored due to its immediate availability and established production capabilities.

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