Over a decade after Israel and India began a joint venture to develop a surface-to-air missile, the system is expected to be formally procured by the Jewish state's navy and has already won sales worth more than $5 billion.

Referred to as Barak-8 by Israel and LR-SAM (long-range surface-to-air missile) by India, the missile system has variants with maximum ranges of 70 km and 150 km. Israeli Aerospace Industries, the 'lead' contractor for the system, announced the Barak-8 would be procured by the Israeli Navy to protect the Jewish state's economic zones and strategic facilities.

The Barak-8 has already entered Indian Navy service on board the Kolkata class of destroyers and is expected to be the main long-range defensive weapon of the Indian fleet. It is expected to be inducted on the under-construction Visakhapatnam class destroyers, Project-17A frigates and the indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant. DRDO was the main Indian partner for the system.

The Israeli Navy is expected to deploy the Barak-8 on its Sa'ar 6 corvettes, which are substantially smaller than the Kolkata class destroyers.

The Barak-8 was developed to counter the threat of advanced subsonic and supersonic anti-ship missiles that the likes of Pakistan, China and Syria (in Israel's case) have been buying. The Barak-8 is controlled by an advanced phased array radar system, which, being lighter in weight, can be mounted high atop a ship, enabling it to effectively detect low-flying targets at greater distances. The advanced radar provides a major advantage over India's existing fleet of older, heavier Russian- and European-origin equipment.

In addition to the advanced radar, the Barak-8 is considerably lighter than India's existing medium-range 'Shtil' missiles than were bought from Russia. Being vertically launched, a large number of Barak-8 missiles can be fired simultaneously, providing greater chances of defeating 'saturation' missile attacks. The Barak-8 also has an active radar seeker, which reduces it's need to depend on shipboard radars for guidance.

The Barak-8 is also being developed in a ground-launched version, which the Indian Air Force and Army are buying as the MR-SAM (medium-range surface-to-air missile). IAI is also promoting the system for export to friendly countries across the world.

Boaz Levi, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Systems, Missiles and Space Group at IAI called the system "a proud member of the exclusive club that hosts Israel's most successful global military developments".

The Barak-8 is regarded as the first major instance of Indo-Israeli defence cooperation in joint manufacture of systems. Interestingly, its name is derived from the Barak missile system, a short-range surface-to-air missile, which was one of the first major arms deals between India and Israel.