India to Test Air Force Variant of BrahMos Missile.
India is all set to conduct the first test firing of the air version of the BhraMos missile this week. The Indian Air Force will fire the missile from its frontline fighter jet Su-30MKI at one of the air bases located on the country’s eastern coast near the Bay of Bengal.
BRAHMOS is a two-stage missile with a solid propellant booster engine and liquid ramjet. Missile can speed up to 3 Mach in cruise phase. The missile has flight range of up to 290-km with supersonic speed all through the flight.
It operates on ‘Fire and Forget Principle’, adopting varieties of flights on its way to the target. Its destructive power is enhanced due to large kinetic energy on impact. Its cruising altitude could be up to 15 km and terminal altitude is as low as 10 meters. It carries a conventional warhead weighing 200 to 300 kgs.
Compared to existing state-of-the-art subsonic cruise missiles, BRAHMOS has:
3 times more velocity
2.5 to 3 times more flight range
3 to 4 times more seeker range
9 times more kinetic energy.
Russia supplies 65% of the BrahMos’ components, including its ramjet engine and radar seeker.
Apart from design modifications, the missile’s weight has also been reduced by the manufacturer from 2.9 ton to 2.4 ton to integrate with the Su-30 MKI.
The IAF has signed a contract for the delivery of air-launched BrahMos cruise missiles from January 2018. It is expected that more than a dozen trials including ground and naval target would be conducted from the fighter jet before the delivery commences.
Till now three, Su-30 MKI has been modified to accommodate the new cruise missile and in total it will modify at least 50 Su-30MKI aircraft to carry the nuclear-capable cruise missile. The IAF plans to induct at least 200 Bhramos-compatible fighter jets in the coming years.
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