Thursday, March 20, 2008

BrahMos 1-0 Barak

India’s activity in the missile field justifies putting up another piece on the developments in the country: A. Sivathanu Pillai, who is in charge of the BrahMos program at DRDO, announced that the next two stages of the missile program would be completed by 2009.

Currently the involved companies work on a universal launch platform. Pillai said that it could be a platform supported by a submarine or it would have to be a portable platform, to be built, carried and submerged at a pre-determined location. The first test of a BrahMos launched from underwater is scheduled for later this year.

The air-to air version of the BrahMos is also in its finishing stages. Pillai confirmed the earlier announced timeframe for the testing of this type of the missile, which is expected to take place in 2009. Before this will happen, the weight of the booster engines still needs to be reduced.
These two stages will add to India’s ship-to-shore, ship-to-ship, land-to-ship and surface-to-surface versions of the multi-role missiles.

Let’s shift from the BrahMos to another missile: the Barak-8. In February the first test-launch of this surface-to-air missile, which is being developed jointly by Israel and India, was announced for 2009. The two countries started in 2006 the development of the supersonic, vertically launched Barak-8, or BarakNG (New Generation). Now the Indian government has put in cold storage this massive joint venture.

The Daily News & Analysis reports:

The Cabinet Committee on Security had cleared the [joint venture] on July 12, 2007, but sources have now indicated that the government is cautious about giving the final administrative clearance for this project. If cleared, this would be the biggest military [joint venture] of India with any other country.
The volume of the deal is Rs 10,000 crore, i.e. roughly US$ 2.47bn. This move came as the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested arms agent Suresh Nanda and others. The CBI has accused Nanda of receiving almost US$ 100 million in kickbacks after a US$ 275 million deal to purchase earlier versions of the Barak was signed during the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance regime in the year 2000.

NDTV has a short news clip on this issue. Watch it here.

It remains to be seen whether the ongoing investigations will cause a major delay of the introduction of this weapon system. India especially decided to buy the Barak after DRDO failed to develop the indigenous system Trishul. Now it seems that a quick mending is not always the ideal choice.

© picture: The Hindu

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