Israel, India sign $350m. missile deal

Israel has signed a secret $350 million deal with India to develop and manufacture the long-range Barak anti-missile air defense system for both countries' militaries, Defense News reported over the weekend. Israeli defense officials refused to confirm the report but said Israel had signed several "large-scale" deals with "various countries" during the DEFEXPO arms exhibition in New Delhi last week. The Israeli delegation to the expo was led by Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Ben-Hanan, head of the Defense Ministry's Foreign Defense Assistance and Defense Export Organization. According to the report, the deal was signed between Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) and the Indian Defense Research and Development Laboratory. IAI, the report said, would finance 50 percent of the project, which is scheduled to be completed within five years. IAI officials refused to confirm the report. The Barak system is a highly advanced, ship-borne and radar-guided supersonic missile designed to intercept all existing anti-ship missiles. In 2001, the Indian Navy purchased the first version of the Barak system for $270m. and reportedly installed the defense system on the INS Viraat aircraft carrier. Last year, Israel agreed to sell three Phalcon airborne early warning systems to India for $1.1b. - Israel's largest one-time sale of military hardware ever.