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MR-SAM

Medium-range air defense missile system

MR-SAM

The MR-SAM air defense system is a joint Indian-Israeli development

 
 
Country of origin India / Israel
Entered service Expected in 2017
Missile
Number of missiles 8
Missile length 4.5 m
Missile diameter 0.54 m
Fin span 0.94 m
Missile weight 274 kg
Warhead weight 60 kg
Warhead type Fragmentation with proximity fuse
Range of fire more than 70 km
Altitude of fire 16 km

 

   The Medium-Range Surface-to-Air Missile (or MR-SAM) project was introduced when Indian Air Force decided to replace the ageing Russian-made air defense systems.

   The MR-SAM air defense system was jointly developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Indian Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) for the Indian Air force and Indian Army. This joint development program was constituted between India and Israel in 2007. The contract for this missile system project was signed in February 2009. The IAI cooperated with ELTA and RAFAEL from Israel and worked with Indian companies, such as TATA, Bharat Electronics, Larsen & Turbo, Bharat Dynamics and many private vendors.

   The project promises to deliver 18 launchers and over 450 MR-SAMs. Initially the delivery time was planned for 2013-14 but the project got delayed because of technical issues in the initial test of the prototype. Now it is expected that the first system will be delivered in 2017.

   In 2015 the DRDO successfully flight-tested MR-SAM systems at the test range. The missile flight tests met all the mission parameters.

   In 2016 the Indian DRDO unveiled the launcher unit for of the MR-SAM missile system, that was developed and manufactured for the Indian Air Force and Army.

  The MR-SAM system was designed to intercept enemy aircraft, missiles, helicopters and drones at a range of up more than 70 km. It uses Barak 8 missiles. A mobile launch system was completely designed in India by DRDO. The trailer-based launcher is towed by a prime mover. Also it can be transported by rail, or airlifted by cargo aircraft.

   The missiles are fired vertically from the canister-launchers and provide 360 degree coverage. The vertical launch systems holds 2 stacks of 4 ready-to-fire missiles. To protect the launcher unit the DRDO developed a unique flame deflector that directs the rocket backblast and flames away from the trailer. This heat deflector can endure at least 60 launches. All 8 missiles can be fired within 20 seconds. Stacks with missiles are reloaded by a dedicated reloading vehicle for rapid replenishment.

   The Barak 8 missile has a length of about 4.5 meters, a diameter of 0.54 meters, a wingspan of 0.94 meters and weighs 275 kg including a 60 kg warhead This missile has a speed of Mach 2 and can hit any aerial targets at range of more than 70 km. Some sources report that these missiles might have a range of up 90 km and even 100 km.

   Target detection and tracking will be performed by a ground-based version of the MF-STAR radar, know as the EL/M-2084. It can detect air targets at a range of up to 470 km.

   Three launcher units will comprise a battery. These will be supported by a control and management unit, radar unit, associated reloading vehicles and maintenance vehicles. The launcher unit has a 13 m mast for communication between control and management unit, which can be as far as 20 km.

 

Variants

 

   LR-SAM is a naval version which also uses Barak 8 missiles. This project was sanctioned in 2005. It was tested for the first time in 2014. This system is believed to have a greater range, in excess of 100 km. This system is fitted on three Kolkata class destroyers. It is planned that in the neat future the LR-SAM will be fitted on the Indian Navy ships, that a currently under construction, including INS Vikrant aircraft carrier, Vishakapatnaam class destroyers, project 17A frigates and some other warships. Israeli Navy also operates a similar system on their vessels. Israel was refittinf its Sa'ar 5-class corvettes to carry these missiles. The INS Lahav was the first vessel to be fitted with this system. After modernization all Israeli Sa'ar 5-class corvettes will be armed with Barak 8 missiles.

 

Prem Joshi

   Article by PREM JOSHI

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