The Air Force now has the ability to strike hostile warships hundreds of kilometres off the coast within just minutes. More important, it can do so from within its own air space – an aerial ability that both Pakistan and China are lacking. The BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, named after the rivers Moscow and Brahmaputra, was successfully test fired on Wednesday for the first time — from the IAF’s frontline Sukhoi-30 MKI combat jet, significantly bolstering the country’s aerial prowess.
The BrahMos, which has a strike range of 290 km and is described as the world’s fastest supersonic cruise missile, can be fired from land, sea and air, completing the tactical cruise missile triad for the country. Given its speed of Mach 2.8 (2.8 times the speed of sound), it is extremely difficult to be intercepted by surface to air missiles deployed on leading warships around the world.
Giving details of the test firing, the defence ministry said 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. BrahMos ALCM, weighing 2.5 ton, is the heaviest weapon to be deployed on India’s Su-30 fighter aircraft which has been modified by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd to carry weapons. But given the still considerable weight of the missile, the Su-30 can carry only missile one per mission.
Using a special targeting mode in its radar, the Su-30 can lock onto an enemy warship and launch the BrahMos from long range, before it can be countered by surface-to-air missiles fired from the warship. The missile is a joint venture between DRDO & NPO Mashinostroyenia (NPOM) of Russia.
BrahMos Aerospace: Key facts about the missile
Medium-range ramjet supersonic cruise missile
BrahMos Aerospace can be launched from submarine, ships, aircraft or land and has devastating effect to combat the target
Joint venture between India and Russia
It is the joint venture between the Russian Federation's NPO Mashinostroeyenia and India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) who together have formed BrahMos Aerospace
History behind the name
The name BrahMos is a portmanteau formed from the names of two rivers, the Brahmaputra of India and the Moskva of Russia.
Indian Air Force's unique feat
With the successful testing of an air version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile on Wednesday, the Indian Air Force has become the first one in the world to achieve this feat
World's fastest anti-ship cruise missile
The missile travels at speeds of Mach 2.8 to 3.0. The land-launched and ship-launched versions are already in service, with the air and submarine-launched versions currently in the testing phase
Inducted by all three services
The Brahmos Aerospace has been inducted by Army, Navy and The Air Force, making it first in the world to achieve this feat
Wide range of destructive powers
BrahMos has wide range of destructive powers as it can launch into target zone with near perfection and has a high ratio of success rate
Workings of the missile
It is a two-stage missile that works on the "fire and forget principle". For the first stage it has a solid propellant booster engine. This brings the missile to its supersonic speed and then gets separated. The liquid ramjet takes over and helps the missile achieve its cruise speed of 2.8 Mach
High demand of BrahMos
BrahMos has been identified as a missile with immense export potential. As many as seven countries, including those in the Middle East and Latin America have already expressed interest in purchasing the missile
More BrahMos in the pipeline
There have been talks on developing smaller versions of BrahMos for deployment on the Navy's Mig-29s, as well as Rafale fighter jets, 36 of which are being bought by India under a government-to-government agreement