Giving a significant edge to India’s defence preparedness and strike capability, an extended range version of the BrahMos cruise missile has been successfully test fired! The latest 450-km range version of the cruise missile was tested from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) Chandipur at sea in Balasore, off the coast of Odisha. Talking about today’s test, Sudhir Mishra, MD & CEO of BrahMos Aerospace said, “The extended range BrahMos hit the target with centimetric accuracy. It’s a big leg up for us and it was a fantastic test flight. With this new version, all three forces, Army, Navy and IAF will have the capability to strike deep into the enemy’s territory.” “This is the first for the world – a supersonic cruise missile with such a high range,” Mishra told FE Online. “BrahMos is the first beneficiary of India’s MTCR membership. We have fulfilled the government’s dream. The BrahMos missile is one of the most precise and accurate in the world,” he added.
“During the launch at 1130 hrs, the land-attack version of the supersonic cruise missile system met its mission parameters in a copybook manner. It was a text book launch achieving 100% results, executed with high precision from the Mobile Autonomous Launcher (MAL) deployed in full configuration,” said BrahMos in a statement. According to BrahMos Aerospace, “the formidable missile system once again proved its mettle to precisely hit enemy targets at much higher range than the current range of 290 km, with supersonic speed of 2.8 Mach”.
At Aero India 2017, DRDO chief S Christopher had said that India and Russia have agreed to the enhancement of BrahMos’ range to 450 km, and the tentative date for the test of the new version of the supersonic cruise missile is March 10. The new 450-km version is likely to send jitters in Pakistan. The news from Aero India also suggested that China will soon have reason to be wary of Brahmos’ strike power. S Christopher said that yet another version of the BrahMos is under development, and it will have a range of 800 km! According to S Christopher, the missile will be ready for tests in the next two and a half years. Talking about the 800-km range missile, Mishra of BrahMos Aerospace said, “Many systems need to be reoriented and made for the enhanced range. But, I believe we will be ready with the new 800-km version of BrahMos within 2 years.”
BrahMos has been developed as part of a joint venture between India and Russia, and the missile had an initial range of 290 km. India has been able to work on increasing the range of the BrahMos missile from its current 290 km after it became a member of the prestigious Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
While the Indian Army and Indian Navy have already inducted the 290-km BrahMos, it is likely to clear the final test for IAF in the first half of this year itself. BrahMos has been integrated on the IAF’s Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft, and according to Sudhir Mishra, this is the heaviest missile to be flown on that frontline fighter aircraft. Sources in BrahMos Aerospace told FE Online that the missile will be test fired from IAF’s Su-30 MKI sometime in April or May.
As pointed out earlier, a missile as heavy as the BrahMos has never been integrated on a frontline fighter jet like Su-30 MKI. This is a first in the world, and is therefore set to give the IAF a big shot in the arm. BrahMos can penetrate into the enemy’s territory and destroy crucial and strategic assets.
In its current form (290-km), the BrahMos has a maximum velocity of 2.8 Mach and cruises at altitudes varying from 10 metres to 15 km. It can be launched in either inclined or vertical configuration based on the type of the ship. The land-attack version of BrahMos is fitted on an mobile autonomous launcher. BrahMos is also capable of being launched from submarine from a depth of 40-50 metres.