India has decided to increase the range of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile to 450 kilometers from the present 290 km. “We have tweaked the configuration of the missile to enhance its range, and we will conduct a test fire around March 10, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Chief S Christopher said on the side-lines of the ongoing AeroIndia.
“Subsequent to the India joining the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), Russia and India had executed a proposal for undertaking joint technical development work for extending the range of the BrahMos missile beyond the 290 kms,” he says.
India in June 2016 joined the MTCR, an informal and voluntary partnership among 35 countries to prevent proliferation of missile and unmanned aerial vehicle technology capable of carrying over 500-kg payload over more than 300 km.
Due to the missile technology restriction regime, both countries had to keep the range of the missile within 300 km. After becoming a full member of MTCR, India can import or co-develop missiles with ranges beyond 300 km.
“Another version of the missile with a strike range of 800 km is under development. The missile could be tested in two and a half years,” he says.
BrahMos is a short-range ramjet supersonic cruise missile that travels at speeds of up to Mach 3.0.
“Several countries are showing keen interest in buying this missile and extending the range will significantly enhance the stand-off capability and the operational radius in striking targets,” a BrahMos spokesman says.
“We (India and Russia) have agreed to improve the BrahMos missile, which will be land, air and sea launched, and are working to increase its range,” he adds.
Combined with its speed and accuracy it is a major force multiplier,” he says.
BrahMos is claimed to be the first supersonic cruise missile known to be in service. “Induction of the first version of BrahMos Weapon Complex in the Indian Navy commenced from 2005 with India’s INS Rajput as the first ship. All future ships being built and ships coming for mid-life upgradation will be fitted with the missile,” he adds.
The maritime force has now equipped eight warships with the cruise missile but they are meant for anti-ship roles.
The Indian Army has also inducted three regiments of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile.
The air-launched version of the missile is expected to be ready for test-firing soon.
The air launched version has been developed and has lesser weight and additional rear fins for aerodynamic stability during separation from the aircraft during launch.
The missile has gone through a complete cycle of ground trials.
The required modifications in SU-30 MKI for interface with the missile launcher and integration with the weapon control of the aircraft are being carried out together with Indian Air Force and Sukhoi Design Bureau.