The Indian Air Force (IAF) successfully test-fired the Extended Range Version of Brahmos Air Launched missile against a ship target from a frontline SU-30MKI aircraft. The maiden test of the extended range of the Brahmos Air Launched missile was conducted on May 12 earlier this year, the force said.
A statement from the IAF Thursday read, “The missile achieved the desired mission objectives in the Bay of Bengal region. With this, IAF has achieved a significant capability boost to carry out precision strikes from SU-30MKI aircraft against land or sea targets over very long ranges. The extended range capability of the missile coupled with the high performance of the SU-30MKI aircraft gives the IAF a strategic reach and allows it to dominate the future battlefields.”
The dedicated and synergetic efforts of the IAF, Indian Navy, DRDO, Brahmos Aerospace Pvt Ltd and HAL have been instrumental in achieving this feat, the statement said.
While the Air Launched version of the BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile has been tested multiple times in the recent past, the Extended Range Version is said to have the capability of striking targets located at around 350 kilometres compared to around 290 kilometres for the initial version.
The first test of the initial version of the Brahmos Air Launched Cruise Missile was conducted in 2017, making it a significant addition to the IAF’s operational capabilities from stand-off ranges.
Stand-off range missiles are the ones which are launched at a distance sufficient to allow the attacking party to evade defensive fire expected from the target area. For the firing of Brahmos from Sukhoi-30 MKI, the missile is gravity dropped from the fuselage of the fighter jet, and the two-stage missile’s engine is then fired up and it propels towards the intended target at the sea.
Brahmos is the heaviest weapon to be deployed on India’s Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter aircraft, which has been modified by HAL to carry these weapon systems.
A combination of the names of the Brahmaputra and Moskva rivers, BrahMos missiles are designed, developed and produced by BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture company set up by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Mashinostroyenia of Russia. The first test launch of the initial version of Brahmos took place in 2001.
Various types of the BrahMos, including those which can be fired from land, warships, submarines and Sukhoi-30 fighter jets have already been developed and successfully tested and inducted since then.
Cruise missiles such as BrahMos, called “standoff range weapons”, are fired from a range far enough to allow the attacker to evade defensive counter-fire. These are in the arsenal of most major militaries in the world. The BrahMos has three times the speed, 2.5 times the flight range and higher range compared to subsonic cruise missiles.
The sophisticated missile is already inducted into the Army and Navy. Many Brahmos missiles are now deployed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) facing China. On November 30, the Army test-fired the extended-range Brahmos from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
An 800-km range variant of BrahMos, which is a conventional (non-nuclear) missile that flies almost three times the speed of sound at Mach 2.8, is also undergoing “developmental trials” at present. The air-breathing BrahMos has emerged as the “prime conventional strike weapon” for the armed forces over the years, with contracts worth over INR 36,000 crore already inked till now.