IAI wins $777 million deal to supply India with maritime missile defense system

Defense Minster Liberman says agreement for the Barak-8 is ‘proof that security is investment, and not expenditure’

A Barak-8 missile, developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is launched during a test. (IAI)
A Barak-8 missile, developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is launched during a test. (IAI)

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the nation’s largest aerospace and defense firm, announced Wednesday that it had won a $777 million contract with India to supply a maritime version of the Barak-8 missile defense system.

The deal was signed with Indian state-owned company Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), which serves as the main contractor in the project.

Israel is a major defense supplier to India, selling an average of $1 billion of military equipment each year.

“IAI’s partnership with India dates many years back and has culminated in joint system development and production,” IAI Chief Executive Officer Nimrod Shefer told Reuters. “India is a major market for IAI and we plan to… reinforce our positioning in India, also in view of increasing competition.”

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman hailed the announcement.

The deal is “proof that security is investment, and not expenditure,” he wrote on Twitter. “The IAI is a national asset, which must be maintained and strengthened.”

The Barak-8 was developed by IAI in collaboration with Israel’s Defense Ministry, India’s Defense Research and Development Organization, the navies of both countries, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, IAI’s Elta Group, and local industries in India.

IAI develops and manufactures advanced systems for air, space, sea, land, cyber, and homeland security.

India, which has longstanding territorial disputes with neighbors China and Pakistan, has signed several big-ticket defense deals since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014.

It has been moving away from relying on traditional ally Russia for military hardware and in recent years, India has deepened its ties to Israel, diplomatically and militarily.

Last year, the two countries signed a military deal worth nearly $2 billion, which includes the supply over several years of medium-range surface-to-air missiles, launchers and communications technology.

Judah Ari Gross and Shoshanna Soloman contributed to this report.

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