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BrahMos CRUISE MISSILE TRIGGERS CONTROVERSY

BrahMos CRUISE MISSILE TRIGGERS CONTROVERSY BETWEEN INDIA AND RUSSIA
By Bulbul Singh

19 Dec 06. Even as India and Brazil are negotiating the sale of unspecified number of BrahMos anti ship cruise missiles from India, Moscow and New Delhi have run into trouble over the marketing of BrahMos cruise missiles in the world market. BrahMos is the first joint development project between India and Russia to make anti-ship cruise missiles with a range of up 300 kilometers.

Moscow has charged that India is squeezing out the Russian missiles by selling aggressively the BrahMos jointly developed missile.

The missile currently being developed by BrahMos Aerospace has received enquiries from several countries. The immediate cause of Moscow’s anger is over BrahMos Aerospace aggressive plan to sell the BrahMos missiles to Indonesia, said officials here, adding that the chances of Moscow’s own missile sales to Indonesia have got slim with the marketing of BrahMos missile.

Officials here say, the latest development could put a lid on all further joint development projects between India and Russia and projects like the joint development of Multirole Transport Aircraft (MTA) could be hit.

Sources say talks are in advanced stage with Brazil for the sale of unspecified number of BrahMos missiles from BrahMos Aerospace India.

Commander of the Brazilian army Gen Francisco Roberto De Albuqurque early this month visited the BrahMos aerospace complex in Delhi cantonment in this connection said sources.

Officials here said, BrahMos Aerospace can sell up to 1000 missiles with a range of up to 300 kilometers in the next five years.

A diplomat from the Russian embassy confirmed that Moscow is concerned over the aggressive marketing of BrahMos missile by India and questioned the need for joint development in cutting edge technologies between India and Russia in future.

BrahMos anti-ship missile has already been mounted on several warships of the Indian Navy, and an air-to-land version of the BrahMos missile is also under development. The air version of the BrahMos missile will be mounted on the SU 30 MKI aircraft currently being license produced at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited(HAL) facilities in Bangalore.

A joint team of experts from the Indian Air Force, the Sukhoi Design Bureau, Brahmos Aerospace and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited have already evaluated future plans to mount the BrahMos missile on the SU 30 MKI aircraft with the Indian Air Force.

The BrahMos missile is a derivative of the Yakhont, was developed by a joint venture between India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyenia. Though the missile has a range over 300 kilometres, the BrahMos missile presently has a range slightly less then 300 kilometres, which sources say is a move avoid any restrictions by the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)

The BrahMos missile is tipped to give the Indian Navy over Chinese Navy, due to its supersonic characteristic. The computer and the guidance system of the missile has been designed by India whereas Russia has provided the propulsion system.

Sources say, besides the sea and the air version of the BrahMos a land version for the Indian Army is also in advanced stages of development. An Indian Army claimed that the land version of BrahMos missile could outmatch the subsonic US Tomahawk Cruise missiles.

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