Air defence systems have traditionally been designed to counter aerial attacks from manned aircraft, such as fixed-wing and rotary-wing planes. However, the past few decades have seen a shift in the types of attacks these systems must defend against, including the proliferation of long-range missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
In response, Integrated Air Defence Systems (IADS) have become more complex than legacy Surface-to-Air (SAM) systems, which were operated in batteries, or Ground Based Air Defence (GBAD) networks using multiple SAMs to protect larger areas.
Many of the air defence systems currently marketed were designed in the 1980s and must be modified and adapted for efficient IADS operation. They cannot move or relocate quickly and lack efficient broadband communications to support an effective distributed operation.
Although they remain suitable for static operation, this is a significant limitation, given the agility and responsiveness required for modern IADS operations, and that’s where IAI’s BARAK-MX system comes into play. this game-changing air defence system represents the latest generation of air defences designed from the start to operate within an IADS. With its net-centric architecture, the BARAK-MX offers flexible operational modes emphasizing connectivity, agility, and autonomy, enabling it to support all operations from standalone SAM to fully IADS. A key feature of the BARAK-MX is its plug-and-fight capability, which allows customers to mix and match sensors and interceptors to create a more affordable system with a lower cost per kill.
The BARAK-MX system consists of three main components: the Command and Control module (the “brain”), sensors (the “eyes”), and interceptors (the lethality components).
These elements are common to both the land and naval configurations of BARAK-MX, providing benefits in terms of acquisition and logistics, training, maintenance, and technical support.
The BARAK-MX system was designed to be used in conjunction with IAI-ELTA’s innovative ELM-2084 Multi-Mission Radar (MMR). In its naval configuration, the BARAK-MX system can be paired with various ELTA’s fully digital phased array radars in different sizes and designs, ranging from a single rotating face to a static four-face ELM-2248 MF-STAR array. The system can also interface with the customer’s existing radar and other sensor systems. As a modular and software-configurable system, the BARAK-MX can be upgraded and enhanced through software changes to cover a broader range of options, allowing customers to tailor their systems to meet specific needs. This flexibility makes the BARAK-MX an “evergreen” system that can be kept up-to-date through electronic upgrades to remain effective and capable over the long term.
An important feature of the BARAK-MX system is its use of the Smart Launcher concept, a launcher that can be connected to any existing air defence system. This intelligent launcher leverages the system’s advanced capabilities to allow it to acquire, plan, and engage targets under the BARAK Battle Management System (BMS) or the customer’s existing BMS.
The BMS coordinates the actions of multiple fire units to cover a wider area and optimize the performance of each unit and the overall air defence campaign. An important capability associated with this architecture is the system’s ability to “Engage on Remote,” where a fire unit can launch interceptors without tracking the target on its own radar. The interceptor is launched based on the target’s information received over the network.
In addition to its overall agility, the BARAK-MX system can be equipped with four types of interceptors, each with a common core and a vertical launch system for 360-degree coverage. These interceptors include the BARAK SRAD for short-range interception (up to 15km), the BARAK MRAD for medium-range interception (up to 35km), the BARAK LRAD for intercepting targets up to 70 km, and the BARAK ERAD, which can intercept at ranges up to 150 km.
The BARAK-MX system represents a significant advancement in air defence technology, offering a scalable and flexible solution to meet the changing threats of the modern battlefield.