India successfully flight tested its BrahMos supersonic cruise missile equipped with a indigenously-developed seeker at 0842 hours om March 22, 2018, from the Pokhran test range in Rajasthan.
The supersonic cruise missile and the seeker have been developed jointly by India’s state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the missile’s developer BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture between the DRDO and the Federal State Unitary Enterprise NPO Mashinostroyenia (NPOM) of Russia.
The flight test was conducted by the scientists of DRDO and BrahMos along with the Indian Army.
The statement from the Indian Ministry of Defence said thet the precision strike weapon with indigenous seeker flew in its designated trajectory and hit the pre-set target.
A high level team led by S. Christopher, Chairman of DRDO and Secretary of Department of Defence Research and Development (DDR&D), was present during the flight trial, which included G. Satheesh Reddy, Director General (Missiles & Strategic Systems) and Scientific Advisor to Raksha Mantri (Minister of Defence), and Sudhir Mishra, Director General BrahMos.
Programme Director Dashrath Ram and Project Director V Prameela who had led the effort for development of the indigenous seeker were also part of the team. Senior IAF officials also witnessed the successful launch of the tactical weapon.
The test firing comes three months after the cruise missile was successfully test fired for the first time from the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jet.
BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile
BrahMos is an Indo-Russian short-range ramjet-powered supersonic cruise missile based on the Russian P-800 Oniks supersonic anti-ship cruise missile.
The BrahMos is designed and developed by BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture between India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Russia’s Federal State Unitary Enterprise NPO Mashinostroyenia (NPOM).
It is the world’s fastest anti-ship cruise missile in operation, travelling at speeds of 3,400-3,700 kmph (Mach 2.8 to 3.0). The range of the missile was earlier capped at 290 km as India was not a member of Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
India and Russia are now planning to jointly develop a new generation of Brahmos missiles with 600 km-plus range as India became a member of the MTCR in 2016. The missile is claimed to be having the ability to hit protected targets with pinpoint accuracy. The upgrade will also be applied to all existing BrahMos missiles.
India conducted the maiden test firing of the extended-range variant of the BrahMos missile on 11 March 2017. The missile was successfully fired from launch complex– III of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Chandipur
The three-ton missile can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft or land-based platforms. The land-launched and ship-launched versions are already in service, with the air and submarine-launched versions currently in the testing phase.
A hypersonic version of the missile, BrahMos-II, is also presently under development with a speed of Mach 7-8 to boost aerial fast strike capability. It is expected to be ready for testing by 2017.