India is planning to test fire the air-launched version of the Indo-Russian BrahMos supersonic cruise missile soon, according to local reports.
The missile, designated BrahMos-A, will be launched from an Indian Air Force (IAF)’s Sukhoi Su-30MKI heavyweight fighter aircraft.
BrahMos-A was first test-fired over the Bay of Bengal on Nov. 22, 2017 from a Su-30MKI aircraft. During the test, the missile was gravity dropped from the Su-30, and the two stage missile’s engine fired up and straightway propelled towards the intended target at the sea in Bay of Bengal at around 280 km range.
The new Brahmos Air Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM) launched 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. A Su-30MKI is able to carry only one BrahMos-A missile.
The IAF has until now inducted over 240 of the 272 twin-seat Sukhois contracted from Russia for over $12 billion, being licence produced by the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). 42 of these fighters will eventually be armed with BrahMos air-launched missile once it completes all the scheduled tests.
BrahMos is a short-range ramjet supersonic cruise missile 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 missile is based on the Russian P-800 Oniks cruise missile and other similar sea-skimming Russian cruise missile technology.
The name BrahMos is a portmanteau formed from the names of two rivers, the Brahmaputra of India and the Moskva of Russia.
The missile can be launched from submarine, ships, aircraft, or land. It is the world’s fastest anti-ship cruise missile in operation with a speed of Mach 2.8 to 3.0.