70% indigenous BrahMos missile test-fired - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Thursday 20 January 2022

70% indigenous BrahMos missile test-fired


By Ajai Shukla

Business Standard, 21st Jan 22

An improved version of the Indo-Russian BrahMos supersonic cruise missile was successfully test-fired from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, off the coast of Odisha, on Thursday.


The launch was conducted by Brahmos Aerospace, a joint venture between India’s Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) and NPO Mashinostroyeniya, the Russian rocket agency that developed the Russian part of theBrahMos.


While the BrahMos was originally 50 per cent built in India, the missile tested on Thursday had an increased indigenous content of 70 per cent, say senior DRDO officials. 


In what the DRDO describes as a “text-book flight,” it announced that the missile followed its predicted trajectory and met all its mission objectives.


“The highly manouverable missile cruised at supersonic speed for its maximum range and all mission objectives were met. The missile was equipped with advanced indigenous technologies and followed a modified optimal trajectory for enhanced efficiency and improved performance,” stated the DRDO after the flight.


The DRDO said the flight test was monitored by all the ITR range sensors, “including telemetry, radar and electro-optical tracking systems deployed across the eastern coast and the down range ships.”


The BrahMos is one of the world’s premier cruise missiles. It flies at a supersonic 2.8 Mach (almost 3,000 km per hour), too fast for enemy fighters to intercept and shoot down. 


Conventional cruise missiles, such as the US military’s Tomahawk, travel at a subsonic 890 km per hour, making them vulnerable to supersonic fighters.


In wartime, the unmanned BrahMos would be used in the opening stages for pinpoint strikes on high-value targets – such as air bases, headquarters, key roads and railways or logistics dumps – which are too heavily defended for manned fighters to attack.


Through incremental improvement and progressive testing, the BrahMos has become a key element of the strike power of all three services. It is launched from all four dimensions: ground launchers, aircraft, surface warships and submarines.


The army operates four BrahMos regiments, including missiles programmed for “steep dive” attacks across India’s Himalayan frontiers. These missiles skim over high mountain ridgelines before diving steeply onto their targets on the valley floor.


Each BrahMos regiment, which is a fully mobile entity with a command post, four missile-launcher vehicles and several missile carriers to carry its complement of 90 missiles, costs some Rs 2000 crore. Each individual missile costs Rs 15 crore.


Even so, the army is on track to buy two more regiments of these lethal missiles. With the missile having been recently tested to a range of 400 kilometres, the 5thand 6thBrahMos regiments are expected to be equipped with the longer-range version.


The Indian Air Force (IAF) has also developed an air-launched version of the BrahMos that is fired from the Sukhoi-30MKI fighter. A full squadron of 21 Sukhoi-30MKIs kitted to fire the BrahMos air-launched cruise missile (ALCM), is stationed at Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu. From here, the long-range Sukhois can strike targets in the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal or the northern Indian Ocean.


In an exercise in May 2019, Sukhoi-30MKIs flew from Thanjavur to strike a target 3,000 km away with BrahMos missiles, refuelling in mid-flight on their way out as well as back.


That Navy hasalso chosen the BrahMos as its standard ship-launched cruise missile (SLCM). All the navy’s frigates and destroyers are now being built to carry the BrahMos in vertical-launch canisters – eight missiles in each frigate and 16 in each destroyer. BrahMos missiles arealready carried by the indigenous Project 15B destroyers, but are alsobeing integrated into the Talwar-class frigates being built in Russia.


BrahMos Aerospace has also offered its missilesfor fitment into six navy submarines that will be built under Project 75-I. In March 2013, a BrahMos was fired from an underwater pontoon, validating it as a submarine launched cruise missile (SLCM).


BrahMos Aerospace was incorporated through an Indo-Russian Inter-Government Agreement (IGA), and is named afterIndia’s Brahmaputra and Russia’s Moskva rivers.It is 50.5 per cent owned by India and 49.5 per cent by Russia, the MoD told Parliament on May 9, 2007.


The MoD stated that the share capital of BrahMos Aerospace was $250 million initially. This was increased by $50 million to cover the cost of developing the air-launched version of the missile.


New Delhi’s contribution of a little over $150 million includes Rs 634 crore contributed by the military and Rs 370 crore contributed by the DRDO.

1 comment:

  1. Can a system like the S-400 be made in a naval version too? What if such a system was available for naval warships along with BrahMos missiles? The Russian Navy, it seems, isn't using the BrahMos missiles on its warships.


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