The Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Sukhoi Su-30MKI jet fighter has successfully test-fired a BrahMos-A supersonic cruise missile for the first time over the Bay of Bengal on Nov. 22.
The missile was gravity dropped from the Su-30 from fuselage, and the two-stage missile’s engine fired up and straightway propelled towards the intended target at the sea in the Bay of Bengal at around 280 km range.
The aircraft, that launched the missile, took off from an Air Force Base in West Bengal. Another Su-30MKI has tracked the missile from launch to the target hit.
The missile test was witnessed by Dr. Sudhir Mishra, DG (BrahMos) & CEO & MD, BrahMos Aerospace along with senior IAF officials, scientists, and officials from Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as well as BrahMos Aerospace.
The successful maiden test firing of Brahmos Air Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM) from Su-30MKI will significantly bolster the IAF’s air combat operations capability from stand-off ranges.
Brahmos ALCM weighing 2.5 ton is the heaviest weapon to be deployed on India’s Su-30 fighter aircraft modified by HAL to carry weapons.
Brahmos, the world-class weapon with a multi-platform, multi-mission role is now capable of being launched from land, sea, and air, completing the tactical cruise missile triad for India.
Indian Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman congratulated the DRDO as well as BrahMos Aerospace for the successful test. Dr. S Christopher, Chairman DRDO & Secretary, Department of Defence R&D congratulated the Scientists and Engineers for this excellent textbook kind of flight test.
42 Su-30MKI fighters will eventually be armed with BrahMos air-launched missile once it completes all the scheduled tests.
The IAF has until now inducted 240 of the 272 twin-seat Sukhois contracted from Russia for over $12 billion, being license-produced by the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
The BrahMos-A is a modified air-launched variant of the BrahMos missile which will arm the Su-30MKI of the Indian Air Force as a standoff weapon. A Su-30MKI is able to only carry one BrahMos missile.
To reduce the missile’s weight to 2.55 tons, many modifications were made like using a smaller booster, adding fins for airborne stability after launch, and relocating the connector.
It can be released from the height of 500 to 14,000 meters (1,640 to 46,000 ft). After release, the missile free falls for 100–150 meters, then goes into a cruise phase at 14,000 meters and finally the terminal phase at 15 meters.
BrahMos is a short-range ramjet supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarine, ships, aircraft, or land. It is tagged as the world’s fastest anti-ship cruise missile in operation. The missile travels at speeds of Mach 2.8 to 3.0.
The missile is developed and manufactured by BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture between the Russian Federation’s NPO Mashinostroeyenia and India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The name BrahMos is a portmanteau formed from the names of two rivers, the Brahmaputra of India and the Moskva of Russia.
The missile is based on the Russian P-800 Oniks cruise missile and other similar sea-skimming Russian cruise missile technology. Russia supplies 65% of the BrahMos’ components, including its ramjet engine and radar seeker.