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Final tests of air-launched BRAHMOS by 2014-end

PTI , (November 22, 2013)

The Indian Air Force has chosen its frontline Sukhoi-30 fighter jets as the platform to mount the supersonic BRAHMOS missiles, whose first test launch will be carried out by the end of 2014, a top official said Thursday. 

"We have chosen Sukhoi-30. That is a deep penetration aircraft which is being produced at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited's Nashik facility in collaboration with the Russians," BrahMos Aerospace managing director and chief executive officer Dr. A S Pillai told reporters in Mumbai. 

He said an air version of the BRAHMOS missile is ready, but testing, simulations and aircraft modifications will take a year more and the final flight with the missile will happen only by the end of 2014. 

Under a contract, BrahMos Aerospace has to deliver the supersonic cruise missile to the IAF starting 2015 and Dr. Pillai exuded confidence that the deadline will be met.

He said the IAF asked for the weight of the missile to be reduced to 2.5 tonne from the general 3 tonne as the launch at high speeds requires lesser components on propulsion, and his company has been able to do it. 

The BRAHMOS was jointly developed in the early 2000s and has since been inducted by the Indian Army and the Navy. 

Dr. Pillai said BRAHMOS is the only supersonic cruise missile system in the world which travels at supersonic speeds and can be launched from land, sea and air. 

BrahMos Aerospace is a 50.5:49.5 partnership between India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Russia's NOPM, and it has been tasked with manufacturing the missile for use by the armed forces of both the countries. 

Asked about the company's efforts to convince the Russians to induct the missile system in their armed forces, Dr. Pillai said the company will take up the matter with the Russians for induction. 

"We are making all out effort for this. As per the inter-governmental agreement, India and Russia both have to induct the JV product and also, we can sell to some friendly countries... we are telling the Russian government it is time they inducted it," he said. 

The official said recently Indian engineers fitted the missile system on a Talwar class frigate built at a Russian shipyard, adding that Russia can also emulate it. 

Dr. Pillai, however, said each country's individual threat perceptions and strategies may differ. 

The order book of BrahMos Aerospace currently stands at USD 6 billion and it is targeting to take it to USD 10 billion in a few years' time. 

The company typically outsources a slew of jobs which go into the making of the missile system to the private sector players like Godrej & Boyce, L&T, among others for faster production. 

Dr. Pillai said his company is presently working on the next level of the BRAHMOS, which entails making it into a reusable hypersonic missile which will hit the target and come back to the base. The project will take up to seven years to come to fruition.

  • "Time has come for BrahMos Aerospace to work on Mark-II version of BRAHMOS so that we will still be the market leader in hypersonic cruise missiles." - Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam

  • "The traditional partnership between India & Russia has been tested by the time and time and it is the most important stabilizing factor, not only for the asian region, but for the whole world" - Vladimir Putin

  • "Make in India' should not be limited to production & manufacturing only, it should also involve generation of engineering knowledge in the country." - Mr. Sudhir Kumar Mishra

  • "BrahMos is not only a successful Joint Venture but also a model for cooperation which has immense political value for our two countries" - Mr. Dmitry Rogozin

  • "BrahMos JV is a unique venture which has given substantial guidelines in defence design inputs, engineering inputs, production related culture and ultimately in pushing the technology base forward" - Dr. V G Sekaran

  • "BrahMos JV is most suitable model, which has withstood the test of time and is recommended to be followed for realization of all high end products with our country." - Dr. V K Saraswat

  • "BrahMos is the most successful missile company of the nation and it is this unique blend of young and experienced team members motivated with innovation and utmost dedication that has contibuted to the success of the missile system" - Dr. Avinash Chander