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July 16
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Armenia is examining procurement of Israel Aerospace Industries Barak 8 (MR-SAM) air defense system, according to Bulgarian Military, Globes reports.

Armenia, which is distancing itself from Russia, is seeking new sources for procuring advance defense systems and is examining the purchase of Israel's Barak 8 (MR-SAM) air defense system, a surface-to-air missile produced by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Bulgarian Military reports. The MR-SAM was a product of Israel-India collaboration.

The system includes a phased array radar, a command and control system, mobile launchers, and interceptors equipped with an advanced radio frequency sensor. The system was developed in cooperation between IAI and India's Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) for the use by India's security forces.

Armenia is currently interested in procuring more modern air defense systems. The country operates a defense system based on the Russian S-300, which is considered one of the MR-SAM's counterparts. The Russian system is designed to protect against aircraft, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles. The MR-SAM's missile is 4.5 meters long and has a diameter of about 0.225 meters. Its advantage lies in its relatively light weight, 275 kg, which allows it to be deployed on several platforms at sea and on land.

Armenia's interest is unprecedented because Israel has been a major supplier of military equipment to Azerbaijan. Moreover, offensive measures produced by IAI, such as Harop loitering munitions, were among the reasons for Azerbaijan's victory in the Second Karabakh War in 2020. Also, in recent months significant agreements between Israel and Azerbaijan have continued to be signed, one of which is the $1.2 billion sale of the Barak MX air defense system.

On the other hand, a possible explanation for Armenian interest in the MR-SAM is that Yerevan does have an excellent relationship with New Delhi, and is trying to maximize it.

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