INDIA INCREASES BrahMos PRODUCTION
By Bulbul Singh
20 Mar 07. India is increasing its facilities to give a quantum jump in production of the homegrown supersonic cruise missile BrahMos. Facilities at the BrahMos Integration Complex are being increased to effectively produce around 1000 cruise missiles for both the domestic and overseas market over the next three years. BrahMos is claimed to be the only one of its kind of the supersonic cruise missile in its category produced jointly by India and Russia.
Facilities at the Hyderabad based BrahMos Integration Complex, commissioned in 2004 are being increased to garner the big order for the BrahMos missile, confirmed sources in the Indian defence ministry.
Indian defence ministry officials said the increase in production of BrahMos followed clearance for export during the January visit of Russian President Vladmir Putin to New Delhi. Moscow had earlier taken exception to India’s hard selling of the BrahMos missile in the international market at the cost of exports of the Russian missiles.
The BrahMos supersonic cruise missile has been jointly developed by India and Russia and so far only the sea-based missile with a range of 290 kilometers has been inducted on several of the warships including the sole aircraft carrier, IINS Viraat. The 6.9 meter long and 3 tone missile has emerged as the standard strike weapon. Sources in the Indian defence ministry said even a submarine-launched version is in various stages of design and development and is likely to be tested by the end of the year. The air and land version is in advance stages of design and development while the Indian army has already given an order for the raising of two regiments with 18 batteries per regiment(one battery has sixteen missiles).
The air version is to be fitted onto the Sukhoi 30MKI aircraft without any structural modification. The airborne version weighing 2.5 tones and modified with a shortened booster is also likely to be tested this year. The Indian Air Force is also considering mounting the BrahMos missile on the Russian SU 30 MKI multi-role aircraft. The missile currently being developed by BrahMos Aerospace has received enquiries from several countries including Brazil for the supply of the supersonic cruise missile.
The BrahMos missile is a derivative of the Yakhont, was developed by a joint venture between India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation [DRDO] 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 computer and the guidance system of the missile has been designed by India whereas Russia has provided the propulsion system; BrahMos has a speed of three times the speed of sound.
Indian defence ministry officials said, besides Brazil, other countries which have expressed interest in buying the missile include UAE, Kuwait, Chile, South Africa, Malaysia. Sources in BrahMos Aerospace said efforts are underway to develop a next-generation BrahMos missile which would mean a larger velocity and reach reaching speed of up to Mach 7.
Talking about the firepower of BrahMos cruise missile, an Indian Navy official said BrahMos with a range of around 300 kilometres and 200 kilogram warhead can neutralize any surface ship in the region adding that there is no defence available against BrahMos. This includes superiority over Chinese Navy as well, claimed the Indian Navy official.