Even as BrahMos, the world’s fastest anti-ship cruise missile, gets ready to be test-fired from IAF’s Sukhoi 30-MKI, many countries have already expressed interest in buying the missile for their fighter jets! According Sputnik, a Russian news agency, as many as seven countries from the Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East are keeping a close eye on the trials of BrahMos on the Su-30 MKI.
Sputnik quoted BrahMos Aerospace spokesperson Praveen Pathak as saying, “We have requests from seven countries in Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East, which already have Su-30s.” The news agency further quoted Pathak as saying that once the test-firing trials from Su-30 MKI were complete, many of these countries would line up to buy the missile. Pathak has also reportedly said that BrahMos Aerospace is equipped to supply the airborne cruise missiles to both IAF and customers abroad.
Last week sources in BrahMos Aerospace told FE Online that the missile will be test fired from IAF’s Su-30 MKI sometime in April or May. “The missile was successfully integrated and test-flown on the Su-30 MKI last year.
A drop test has also been conducted, however 2-3 more drop tests need to be carried out at varied altitudes and different weather conditions before the missile is eventually ready to be test-fired from the fighter jet,” sources said. BrahMos plans to carry out two tests from the Su-30 MKI – one targeting a ship and the other a land-based target. Once the two tests are completed successfully, the missile can be inducted by the IAF.
While the Indian Army and Indian Navy have already inducted the BrahMos, it is likely to clear the final test for IAF in the first half of this year itself. BrahMos has been integrated on the IAF’s Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft, and according to Sudhir Mishra, the CEO and MD of BrahMos Aerospace this is the heaviest missile to be flown on that frontline fighter aircraft.
For the uninitiated, BrahMos is a missile that has jointly been developed by India and Russia. In its current form, the BrahMos, with arnage of 290 km, has a maximum velocity of 2.8 Mach and cruises at altitudes varying from 10 metres to 15 km. It can be launched in either inclined or vertical configuration based on the type of the ship. The land-attack version of BrahMos is fitted on an mobile autonomous launcher. BrahMos is also capable of being launched from submarine from a depth of 40-50 metres.
Meanwhile, India is also looking to extend the range of the missile. DRDO chief S Christopher recently said that a new version of the BrahMos will be tested as early as March this year. The new BrahMos will have a range of 450-km. At the Aero India 2017, S Christopher said that India and Russia have agreed to the enhancement of BrahMos’ range to 450 km, and the tentative date for the test of the new version of the supersonic cruise missile is March 10. S Christopher has said that yet another version of the BrahMos is under development, and it will have a range of 800 km. According to him, the missile will be ready for tests in the next two and a half years.