India set to test air-launched version of Brahmos missile that can take out ships, bunkers and command centres

The Brahmos missiles on display in Russia. Source: Many Pubby/ The Print

The integration of the missile into the Sukhoi-30MKI will significantly increase the range that the missile can target.

MANU PUBBY

St Petersburg (Russia): India is set for the first test firing of an air-launched version of its supersonic Brahmos cruise missile in July, which will demonstrate a significantly enhanced capability of the weapon to take out targets at long ranges.

The test is likely to be carried out against a ship target off the Odisha coast by the end of July. The missile is designed to take out hard-to-hit targets at sea, as well as heavy land-based fortifications like bunkers, command centers and vital infrastructure.

The air-launched Brahmos has already undergone six separation trials in which the missile is dropped from the Sukhoi-30MKI jets at different speeds, altitudes and G-force conditions. All have been successful, paving the way for the live firing of the missile in July. The day of the test will be chosen after taking the weather conditions into account.

During the test, the missile will separate from the Sukhoi-30MKI, drop for a few hundred meters and then fire up to head towards the target at sea.

The Brahmos missiles on display in Russia. Source: Manu Pubby/The Print

The Brahmos missile – jointly developed by India and Russia – is currently both land-based and ship-borne with a declared range of 300 km. This is being gradually increased to over 450 km with India joining the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).

The integration of the missile to the Sukhoi-30MKI will significantly increase the range, given the internal fuel range of the fighter which is 3000 km. This will give India the capability to project a significant new power at sea. The integration of the Brahmos on the Sukhoi-30MKI has been done in India.

The Brahmos is the sole Indian representation at the IMDS show in Russia – its biggest naval military show that is held once in two years. The missile has attracted interest from several potential export customers like Vietnam and a Gulf nation.

Last year, India and Russia agreed to develop new versions of the Brahmos missile that would increase its range to 800 km. Plans are also afoot to develop new smaller variants to be fired from underwater.

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