Roshan Writes: On March 22, 2018 yet again, the latest version of BrahMos, was successfully tested. The supersonic cruise missile has now been tested by all the three wings namely Army, Navy and the Airforce. BrahMos, with an indigenous seeker hit the target with “pin-point” accuracy on March 22 at a Pokhran test range in Rajasthan. Mr. Sudhir Mishra the CEO & MD of BrahMos Aerospace said that, “With today’s successful test flight we have taken yet another important step towards building indigenous defence equipment manufacturing capability.”, “We have demonstrated that Indian scientists can develop the world’s most advanced technology and equipment[i],” he further commented. This would be a big boost to India’s ‘Make in India Programme.
BrahMos has a rich history, apart from being named after two important rivers namely Brahmaputra in India and Moskva in Russia, in 2007, Indian Army became the world’s first land force to deploy the tactical BrahMos, later on the air launched version of BrahMos created a world record after it was successfully test fired from the Indian Air Force’s Sukhoi-30MKI multirole fighter[ii].BrahMos missile is the heaviest weapon to be deployed on India’s Su-30 fighter aircraft and work has already begun to integrate the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile on 40 Sukhoi combat aircraft which is expected to fulfil the critical needs of the Indian Air Force in the wake of evolving security dynamics in the region[iii]. The Indian Navy had the anti-ship variant, but last year “land attack version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile was fired for the first time from an Indian Navy’s stealth frigate, off the eastern coast, at a land target[iv].” Thus theLACMs provided Indian warships the ability to accurately neutralize designated targets which are far away from the coast.Till now, the Navy had equipped over 10 warships with the anti-ship version of the BrahMos missiles, which fly almost three times the speed of sound at Mach 2.8 and have been jointly developed with Russia, also the Army, in turn, has inducted three BrahMos regiments, with the fourth on the way.[v] This deployment in Arunachal Pradesh would be especially useful considering that Chines has built huge infrastructure all along the LAC.
Once India became a member of Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), India could enhance its joint ventures with Russia and the aim was to enhance the range of this missile from 290 to 400 kms. There is confidence amongst the makers, (due to its successful flight test several times) that India could export this weapon to many countries, already countries from Latin America and South East Asia have shown interest in buying this weapon. BrahMos Aerospaceis also working to make this technology more versatile and has unveiled a plan for its hyper sonic version, where the velocity would be increased from 2.8 Mach (basic version) to 7 Mach, and the complicated scramjet engine technology would be used. Considering all major powers are opting for hypersonic vehicles, hence the next step for India would be to test this weapon.
[i]BrahMos achieves big ‘Make in India’ feat! Missile test-fired with indigenous seeker; it’s a breakthrough, Financial Express, at http://www.financialexpress.com/defence/brahmos-missile-indigenous-seeker-make-in-india-supersonic-test-fire-details-pokhran/1107235/
[ii] Anil Bhat, “BrahMos missiles flies further and faster”, The Asian Age, March 27,2018 at http://www.asianage.com/india/all-india/270318/brahmos-missiles-fly-farther-and-faster.html
[iii] BrahMos missile is the heaviest weapon to be deployed on India’s Su-30 fighter aircraft, Bussinessline at https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/brahmos-missile-successfully-tested-fired-with-indigenous-seeker/article23320418.ece
[iv] Ankit Panda, “A First: India Successfully Tests BrahMos Supersonic Land-Attack Cruise Missile,” the Diplomat at https://thediplomat.com/2017/04/a-first-india-successfully-tests-brahmos-supersonic-land-attack-cruise-missile/
[v] Rajat Pandit, “Navy successfully tests land-attack BrahMos supersonic missile”, The Times of India, August 21 2017 at https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/navy-successfully-tests-land-attack-brahmos-supersonic-missile/articleshow/58301144.cms