The successful maiden test firing of BrahMos Air Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM) from Su-30MKI will significantly bolster the IAF’s air combat operations capability from stand-off ranges. The missile weighing 2.5 tonne is the heaviest weapon to be deployed on India’s Su-30 fighter aircraft modified by state owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) to carry weapons. BrahMos, the world’s fastest supersonic cruise missile, created history when it was test-fired last week from the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) frontline fighter aircraft Sukhoi-30MKI against a sea based target in the Bay of Bengal. The missile was gravity dropped from the Su-30 fuselage, and the two-stage missile’s engine fired up and straightway propelled towards the intended target at the sea in Bay of Bengal. The world-class weapon with multi-platform, multi-mission role is now capable of being launched from land, sea and air, completing the tactical cruise missile triad for India. The air version of the missile will be inducted into the IAF on its SU-30 MKI fighter planes after trials are completed. BrahMos plans to carry out two tests from the Su-30 MKI—one targeting a ship and the other a land-based target. Once the two tests are completed successfully, the missile can then be inducted by the IAF.
The IAF has modified two Su-30MKI fighter jets for air-launched BrahMos cruise missiles by now. The upgrade of the other 48 aircraft will begin immediately after this missile is accepted for service. While the missile will be supplied by BrahMos Aerospace, an Indo-Russian joint-venture, the Su-30MKI aircraft are being provided by the IAF and the integration will be done by HAL. In an earlier interaction with FE, Praveen Pathak, general manager for market promotion and exports, said BrahMos is expanding production capacity to meet expected demand for thousands of missiles. “Our second manufacturing facility is ready and additional facilities are coming up,” he said. Countries from the Middle East, Latin America and South East Asia have expressed their interest for the missile system.