BrahMos Aerospace: 10 things you must know

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.

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