30 Apr 06. The Indian Air Force will also have an air version of the BrahMos, the supersonic cruise missile jointly developed by India and Russia. This follows approval by both the countries to go ahead with the air version of the BrahMos cruise missile after the technical trials of the air version have proven successful. The BrahMos supersonic cruise missile will now be integrated with the Sukhoi 30 MKI multi role aircraft which are with the Indian Air Force and are also under license production at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)’s Nasik facility.
An air-to-surface missile also, air-to-ground missile is a missile designed to be launched from military aircraft including, bombers, attack, and fighter aircraft said an Indian Air Force official. The Indian Air Force will have over 150 SU 30 MKI after the license production of 140 numbers is completed, and only a few of these aircraft will be equipped with BrahMos missiles.
The IAF version of BrahMos will be lighter than the Naval version which weighs three tones, but the range will be the same as the naval version at around 280 Kilometers. The IAF version will have an improved booster and a modified nose cap. The Indian Army has also given an order for the land version of the BrahMos cruise missile.
The BrahMos is a joint venture between Russia’s Federal State Unitary Enterprise, NPO Mashinostroyenia (NPO)M) and India’s state owned defense research agency, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The joint venture entity BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited Company is managing the overall activities of BrahMos missile program. The BrahMos is a two stage missile with a solid propelled booster engine that takes it to supersonic speeds. The liquid ramjet of the second stage then accelerates the missile closer to Mach 3 speed in the cruise phase. The ship version of the BrahMos has already been inducted in the Indian Navy which can be launched from ships, submarines, silos on land
India and Russia have invested up to $100 million in the air version of the BrahMos missile program which is targeted to be integrated on the SU 30 MKI aircraft by 2007.
The Sukhoi-30MKIs will be capable of carrying three air-launched BrahMos each while the Indian Navy Long Range Maritime Patrol platforms will be armed with the missile.
DRDO sources meanwhile revealed that Russia has already developed the air version of the BrahMos like missile in the Yakhont-M air launched series. BrahMos partner NPO has developed the Yakhont-M air missile which DRDO sources say is very similar to the air version of the BrahMos missile and has been developed for the Sukhoi 30 aircraft with a range of up to 300 kilometers. BrahMos Aerospace also has plans to export the air version of the BrahMos missile and a tie up with Rosoboronoexport of Russia has also been struck said a defense ministry official to help export the cruise missile only to friendly countries.
The official said there has been enquiry from several countries to buy the BrahMos cruise missile. The export of the BrahMos is now governed with the Intellectual Trade Agreement on defense which was inked between India and Russia late last year.
The ship version of BrahMos missile has already given a quantum combat jump for the Indian Navy as there is no country in the region, including China which has supersonic cruise missiles which can match the BrahMos. The defense ministry official said the BrahMos is three times faster then the US Tomahawk cruise missile and two missiles are enough to sink an enemy aircraft carrier.
DRDO sources also revealed that though Russia is a partner in the BrahMos land, sea and air version of the missile, Moscow is not giving any orders for these misiles. With lack of specific orders, the BrahMos missile cannot be produced by the Defence Research and Development Laboratory Hyderabad, said the DRDO sources.