Moneycontrol
Nov 14, 2017 04:01 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

India to test supersonic BrahMos missile from Sukhoi fighter jet this week

The BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, which travels almost three times faster than sound at Mach 2.8, will be air launched from a Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jet as a test-firing exercise.

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India is all set to launch the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile — an upgrade to its current precision-strike supersonic cruise missile — this week, the Times of India reported.

The BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, which travels almost three times faster than sound at Mach 2.8, will be air launched from a Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jet as a test-firing exercise. The fighter jets have been converted to carry the new cruise missiles.

Together the fighter jet that has a cruising range of 3,200 km and the precision-strike missile would emerge as a “deadly combination”, says the TOI article.

A lighter BrahMos missile, which weighs 2.4-tonne instead of the original 2.9-tonne, will be test-fired from a twin-engine Sukhoi fighter over the Bay of Bengal this week, defence ministry sources told the newspaper.

The BrahMos missiles are launched air-to-ground. Sources told the newspaper the missile can potentially be used for surgical strikes on units of terror outfits situated in the interiors of enemy territory. It can also destroy underground nuclear bunkers and other crucial military targets like aircraft carriers on the international waters from far away.

Since India has last year joined the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) of 34 nation, the cap on proliferation of missiles and drones over the range of 300-km was removed. Hence, the armed forces are testing a BrahMos with longer range of 450 km.

The Indian Armed Forces (IAF) has already acquired 290-km range land and warship-based versions of the BrahMos missiles. Orders for the missiles have crossed Rs 27,000-crore mark.

The BrahMos is a collaboration between India’s Defense Research Development Organization  and Russian rocket-design organisation NPO Mashinostroyeniya. The missile is named after the Brahmaputra River in India and the Moskva River in Russia.

As per sources, the article says that 42 Sukhoi fighter jets would be armed with BrahMos missiles after the weapons have been tested successfully several times.

Presently, IAF has already inducted 240 of the 272 twin-seat Sukhois, which were acquired from Russia on a contract for over USD 12 billion. State-owned aerospace and defence company Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) is carrying out licensed production of a number of Sukhois.

Development of a hypersonic version of the BrahMos is also underway. It would be capable of flying at a speed of over Mach 5 compared to the present Mach 2.8.
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