Former navy chief Admiral Sushil Kumar has filed a RTI as per reports in an Indian newspaper. He says that the decision to induct Israeli Barak anti-missile system was taken in 1993-94.
I remember my discussion with Admiral (Retd) Vishnu Bhagwat in 2007. What he told me was that navy was ready to wait for Trishul SAM to perform. Navy was ready for any indigenous weapon system to be deployed in Mark I phase, followed by the Mark II phase and so on. It has been 2 years since I met him.
The real issue here was that Israeli Barak anti-missile system was approved for the Indian Air Craft Carrier INS Viraat. Then the Navy was not ready to put it in more ships. Navy wanted Trishul SAM to be deployed on other ships and ultimately on INS Viraat.
After the dismissal of Admiral Bhagwat, the Barak systems were approved for some more ships.
As per the newspaper “claims by the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) that the indigenous Trishul project was in advance stages of development in 1999.” The Missile trials had some hits and some misses. This is why Admiral (Retd) Vishnu Bhagwat was ready to wait for Trishul SAM.
Type 25A Kora Class corvettes were supposed to field Trishul SAM’s. On 15 March 2001, the former Defence Minister George Fernandes stated that the missile has to undergo more trials and it will not be available before 2003.
It is true that navy ignored the Trishul and pushed for Barak. I am not sure that it was for bribe or something else. What I can say is that the decision was good for the country. Trishul SAM had more developmental problems later. What was not good for the county was the ignoring of Trishul SAM. Trishul SAM project should have been carried on to be fit on rest of the ships and newer variants could have been developed.