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Watch out Pakistan, China! BrahMos, world's fastest anti-ship cruise missile, is getting more lethal by the day

The Financial Express logo The Financial Express 17-02-2017 Smriti Jain

BrahMos, the world's fastest anti-ship cruise missile, is all set to achieve several new milestones in the coming days and months. BrahMos has been developed as part of a joint venture between India and Russia, and the missile currently has a range of 290 km. 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.

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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.

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As pointed out earlier, a missile as heavy as the BrahMos has never been integrated on a frontline fighter jet like Su-30 MKI. This is a first in the world, and is therefore set to give the IAF a big shot in the arm. BrahMos can penetrate into the enemy's territory and destroy crucial and strategic assets.

Adding to the good news on the defence and strike capability front, 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, a fact that is likely to send jitters in Pakistan! 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.

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That's not all! The news coming out of Aero India also suggests that China will soon have reason to be wary of Brahmos' strike power. 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 S Christopher, the missile will be ready for tests in the next two and a half years.

India has been able to work on increasing the range of the BrahMos missile from its current 290 km after it became a member of the prestigious Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). An MTCR membership means that India can now get access to high-end missile technology and surveillance systems by leading manufacturers. In October last year Russian President Vladimir Putin said that India and Russia have agreed to BrahMos missile, which will be land-, air- and sea-launched. "We will also work to increase its range,? Putin said during his interaction after the annual Russia-India summit on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit.

A range of 800 km for the BrahMos means that India will get the huge potential to strike deep into the neighbouring territories, be it Pakistan or China. In its current form, the BrahMos 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.

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