New Delhi: The Indian Air Force on Wednesday successfully test-fired the air-launched version of supersonic Brahmos cruise missile from its frontline fighter jet Sukhoi-30 MKI.
This makes the IAF the only air force in the world to have such a capability. The launch from the aircraft was smooth and the missile followed the desired trajectory before directly hitting the land target, an IAF statement said.
“BrahMos provides IAF the capability to strike from large stand-off ranges on any target at sea or on land with pinpoint accuracy by day or night in any weather condition. Brahmos coupled with the superlative performance of Su-30MKI gives IAF the desired strategic reach,” it said.
This was the second successful test of the missile from an aircraft. The first test was carried out in November 2017 against a sea-based target in the Bay of Bengal.
The missile, weighing 2.5 tonnes, has a range of 290km and speed of Mach 3 making it difficult for the air-defence elements of the enemy to counter it. One Mach is equal to the speed of sound.
The Su-30MKI jet had to be modified to enable it to carry and fire the cruise missile. The first such modified aircraft was handed by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to Brahmos Aerospace in February 2015.
The ship and land-launched versions of Brahmos are already in service with the Indian armed forces. The missile has been developed jointly in collaboration with Russia.
Plans are afoot to develop a smaller version of the missile (Brahmos-NG) so that it can be fired from India’s home-grown aircraft Tejas. One Tejas aircraft will reportedly be able to carry three Brahmos-NG missiles.