IAF Sukhoi-30 MKIs get big firepower! BrahMos air version can now be used in combat; gets critical certification

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Updated: Jun 18, 2020 7:59 PM

To be integrated on the Su-30 MKI, the BrahMos underwent several critical changes including weight reduction from the original 2.9 to 2.5 tonne.

According to sources, FRC is a critical certification for all who are into missile programmes as based on this can the weapon be used during a mission.According to sources, FRC is a critical certification for all who are into missile programmes as based on this can the weapon be used during a mission.

Amidst the ongoing tensions between India and China, the Indo-Russian BrahMos air-launched cruise missile (ALCM) has received its first-ever Fleet Release Clearance (FRC) which has been issued by the the Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC).

Sources at BrahMos have confirmed to Financial Express Online that, the FRC certification was issued by the CEMILAC on June 10th in Bengaluru. This was shared with all the stakeholders through a video conferencing where the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), BrahMos Aerospace, Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE), Software Development Institute (SDI), IAF HQ and other were present.

BrahMos is the first indigenous supersonic and advanced ALCM system made in India in a joint venture with Russia which has this certification. This has the proven capabilities for the Indian Air Force.

Why is this BrahMos on Sukhoi-30 MKI certification important?

Explaining the importance of this certification, a senior IAF officer said “With the FRC, the IAF Squadrons can now use these missiles in combat missions. It must be mentioned that the IAF had earlier this year added unmatched capability (as has been reported by the Financial Express Online earlier) when it had inducted the Su-30 MKI which were armed with the BrahMos ALCMs in the resurrected No 222 Squadron at Thanjavur Air Force Station.”

This has given the IAF more advantage during its missions in the Indian Ocean Region as the BrahMos stand-off distance is around 300 km and the Su-30 MKI is 3000 km, which also has the capability of being refuelled during a mission.

According to sources, FRC is a critical certification for all who are into missile programmes as based on this can the weapon be used during a mission.

Before the BrahMos was inducted in the IAF it had successfully demonstrated its land-attack and anti-ship capabilities which were carried out on land-based launchers as well as Su-30MKI.

The Journey so far

Since June 2001, besides the developmental launches, the Indo-Russian BrahMos Missile has been launched 26 times from different naval platforms; there were 23 test launches for the Indian Army and six for the IAF.

To be integrated on the Su-30 MKI, the BrahMos underwent several critical changes including weight reduction from the original 2.9 to 2.5 tonne.

What is FRC?

In simple term, it is just like the Initial Operational Clearance which the indigenous LCA `Tejas’ got before it flies. And in the case of a missile like the BrahMos, this kind of certification is required as it has to be cleared and certified since both the weapon and the aircraft platform/or any other platform which will carry have to go through changes.

According to senior IAF officer, “ Even the Su-30 MKI has had to undergo several changes and had to be modified for the integration of the missile.

For the certification issued earlier in the month only some of the modified Su-30 MKI has been identified which will carry the BrahMos ALCM for missions.

For future missions, the IAF will be studying and analyzing more data for future missions.

As in the case of the Tejas, which after IOC had to get FOC, similarly, the BrahMos too will have to get another FRC, while the IAF will identify more Su-30 MKI which will have to undergo modifications to carry this missile.

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