India readies its Brahmastra

Another missile milestone was achieved Wednesday with the successful testing of the BrahMos supersonic air-launched cruise missile. The missile was “successfully flight-tested for first time from the IAF’s frontline fighter aircraft Sukhoi-30MKI against a sea-based target in the Bay of Bengal,” said a defence ministry release. Jointly built by India and Russia and named after the Moscow and Brahmaputra rivers, the BrahMos is the world’s fastest supersonic cruise missile.

Described as the “Brahmastra for the Indian Armed Forces” by Sivathanu Pillai, the co-founder of Brahmos Aerospace, the launch will significantly bolster the IAF’s ability to conduct surgical strikes deep inside enemy territory.

With this launch, India now has a missile which can be launched from the air, land or sea. The Air Force version of the BrahMos, which can travel at Mach 2.8, has a strike range of 290 km and can carry a conventional warhead weighing up to 300 kg. It is lighter than the naval and land versions, enabling it to be launched from the Sukhoi, India’s heaviest all-weather, long-range fighter, specially modified to load it. Once a range of similar tests are completed, the missiles will be deployed on 42 Sukhois.

Buoyed by the successful launch of the BrahMos from the air, defence officials are already looking at ramping up production of newer iterations which will be smaller, faster and have longer ranges. These include BrahMos II, a hypersonic version (Mach 7 or higher), which returns to its launcher after delivering the warhead, and is expected to be ready around 2020. Then there’s BrahMos NG, or Lite, which at just 1.4 tons (and a lower range of 120 km) will be light enough to be carried by the indigenously built Tejas aircraft. As Sudhir Kumar Mishra, CEO and MD of BrahMos Aerospace put it, “The idea is to mass produce the missile so that we can integrate it on a variety of platforms. It is a new business initiative and we see a huge market for it in India and abroad.”

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Source:- Indian Express

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