Chinese believe India has more than 14,000 BrahMos missiles. Is it true?
How many BrahMos has been made are not confirmed by India but the Chinese think tank believes that more than 15,000 BrahMos missiles are built of which nearly 14,000 are in service with the Indian Armed Forces.
BrahMos is a medium-range, ramjet engine, supersonic cruise missile. Its maximum speed is Mach 3 to Mach 3.2. Brahmos missile ranges more than 500 km and weight is about 2,500-3,000 kg and can fly to a low altitude of 3-4 m from sea level. This missile can be launched from Aircraft, Ships & Submarines, and also from land-based mobile launchers that are set up in Tata motors heavy mobility trucks.
This missile is jointly developed by India and Russia. BrahMos is derived from Brah as Brahmaputra river of India and Mos as Moskva river of Russia.
It is fastest supersonic cruise missile in the world and overall second fastest missile in the world currently in service only after DRDO’s ballistic missile Shaurya. It was been manufactured jointly by BrahMos Aerospace Limited, DRDO and NPO Mashinostroyeniya. Brahmos engine comes in two stages. The first stage uses solid rocket booster and the second stage contains liquid Ramjet.
It uses inertial navigation system along with GPS/NavIC/GAGAN/GLONASS satellite guidance and active radar homing.
We can guestimate it though.
When the production was started in 2005, the news was that about 2000 would be made in 10 years. That should have been complete by now.
Now, the nation has added 2 more production lines bringing the capacity to 3 lines while increasing the indigenization levels. We can assume 3 times the capacity. This means the last 5 years we should have made another 3000 of new generation variants.
In 2016 there was a news of ramping production to 100 missiles a month. By 2018 the third production line was added. So current production should be 150 – 200 missiles a month. That’s 1800 – 2400 missiles a year. In 5 years that will translate to 9000 – 12000 missiles. That’s the second most aggressive manufacturing in Indian defense second only to Pinaka MLRS at 5000 rockets a year since 2005. India must have produced over 80,000 rockets by now, but most of the initial rockets are either used or expired. Rocket propellant as well as warhead are primarily chemicals that means they come with an expiration date i.e a use by dd/mm/yyyy. Usually 8 – 10 years for open units like 80 mm rockets and MLRS rockets while those in casister like brahmos have 15 + years.
There was also news last year of “service life extension” for brahmos which means a test and replace of expired chemicals and batteries. Warhead I believe are also replaced.