BrahMos missile – a lethal weapon co-developed by India and Russia – is set to be test fired from IAF’s Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter jet, after years of wait. The test firing is important not just for the fact that it would validate the multi-platform capability of the BrahMos missile, but more significantly it will give the Indian Air Force unprecedented fire power against the enemy. BrahMos missile can penetrate into the enemy’s territory and destroy crucial and strategic assets. “Weather is playing spoilsport. We are waiting to conduct the test firing. We hope to do it this week, but if not the idea is to definitely do it in November,” a source told FE Online.
In 2016, a Sukhoi 30-MKI frontline fighter jet was test-flown with the BrahMos missile integrated on it. According to BrahMos CEO & MD Sudhir Kumar Mishra, BrahMos is one of the heaviest missiles to be integrated on a frontline fighter jet in the world. “No country in the world has a missile system, the likes of BrahMos, integrated on its frontline fighter jets,” Mishra has told FE Online in the past.
The Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft for BrahMos integration has been modified by state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). According to BrahMos Aerospace, the Su-30-BrahMos combination will carry out air combat operations within and beyond visibility range and will provide the IAF with the capability of attacking targets protected by powerful air defence assets. This means that BrahMos together with the Su-30 MKI would give India a formidable weapon against Pakistan.
BrahMos supersonic cruise missile
Conventional warhead of 200-300 kg
Up to 15 km
As low as 10 meters
BrahMos has already been inducted by the Indian Army and Indian Navy. The 290-km range supersonic cruise missile is also said to be the world’s fastest anti-ship cruise missile. In its current form, 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. Several countries have already expressed interest in buying the BrahMos missile from India.
Incidentally, with India becoming a member of the MTCR, India and Russia decided to enhance the range of the BrahMos missile in 2016. In March this year, a 450-km land-based version of the BrahMos missile was successfully test fired. Meanwhile, the development of an almost 800-km range BrahMos missile is underway and is expected to be complete in two years time. The 800-km version will give China every reason to be wary of India’s strike capabilities.