In a first, India is all set to test-fire the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from a Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jet over the Bay of Bengal this week, according to media reports.
The BrahMos cruise missile travels at a speed three times that of sound at Mach 2.8, while the fighter jet has a cruising range of 3,000 kilometres and their combination could prove lethal for defence targets. The test firing, if successful, could help Indian Air Force conduct surgical strikes.
According to Times Now, the original BrahMos missile weighs 2.9 tonnes and the one to be tested from the Sukhoi fighter jet would be a lighter version weighing 2.4 tonnes.
The successful launch of the missile will also make BrahMos the first cruise weapon system in the world to have such capability of being fired from all three platforms: land, sea and air, according to the report.
BrahMos is the only supersonic cruise missile possessing this advanced capability in the world providing an edge to the user with precise hit, The New Indian Express reported.
BrahMos Aerospace, an India-Russian joint venture formed in 1998, manufactures the supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft, or land. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and BrahMos Aerospace have been working on integrating the BrahMos missiles on two Sukhois for flight trials, which kicked off in June 2016.
In October, the Brahmos Aerospace's CEO Sudhir Kumar Mishra said domestic orders placed for the BrahMos missiles have been worth more than $ 7 billion over the last 20 years, and if exports fructify the sales could double in the next five years.
According to The Times of India, the armed forces have already inducted the 290-kilometre range land and warship-based versions of the BrahMos missiles over the last decade. Having placed orders worth over Rs 27,150 crore, the army, navy and IAF have clearly shown their preference for BrahMos as their conventional (not nuclear) precision-strike weapon in the years ahead.
However, India could not export them before June 2016, when it became a signatory to the 34-nation Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
The Times of India report also said 42 Sukhoi fighters will eventually be armed with BrahMos missiles once the air-launched missiles have undergone a battery of successful tests.
On 3 November, India successfully test-fired its indigenously-developed lightweight 'glide bomb', the Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW) at the Integrated Test Range at Odisha's Chandipur, an official statement said.
The guided bomb, released from an Indian Air Force aircraft and guided through precision navigation system, reached the targets at greater than 70-kilometre range with high accuracy, it said.
Three tests with different release conditions and ranges were conducted and all were successful.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Nov 14, 2017 20:27 PM