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SOURCE: The Pioneer

The two historic successful test firings of BRAHMOS air-launched cruise missile (ALCM) from the Indian Air Force’s frontline Sukhoi-30 fighter platform, first in November 2017 against a sea-surface target, and subsequently in May 2019 against a land-based target, focussed the attention of the entire world on one of India’s most powerful weapons development programme.

Pegged as the best precision assault missile with incredible land-attack and anti-ship capability, BRAHMOS has outclassed any other weapon of its genre the world-over in terms of speed, accuracy, range, versatility, stealth and destructive capability.

BrahMos Aerospace, the India-Russia JV entity engaged in the design, development, production and marketing of supersonic BRAHMOS cruise missiles in its land, sea/sub-sea and air configurations, is now moving closer to arm the IAF — one of the most powerful Air Forces in the world — with an unparalleled airborne weapon capable of revolutionising conventional air warfare in 21st century.

Designed as a modified variant of its original anti-ship configuration, BRAHMOS ALCM, featuring a lighter propulsion system, improved nose cone and enhanced aerodynamic structure, has become the heaviest and most powerful weapon onboard the frontline super-manoeuvrable Sukhoi-30 combat aircraft of the Indian Air Force. With a strike range of 290 km and a warhead of up to 300 kg, the 2.5-ton missile promises to deliver a deadly blow to strategic enemy positions across land or sea. The BRAHMOS-Su-30 has emerged as the deadliest weapon-platform combination to knock off any kind of enemy targets at long distances which are beyond visual ranges.

The air-launched BRAHMOS project was fraught with innumerable challenges as it involved the integration of a very powerful, high-speed, manoeuvrable missile onboard a heavy, long-range air superiority fighter platform. The Russian-origin Sukhoi-30 combat aircraft underwent structural modifications to carry the BRAHMOS-A whose weight was reduced by 500 kg in order to fit it onto the heavy strike fighter. The missile underwent design refinements for aerodynamic stability in the early stages of its flight from the supersonic air fighter platform.

The highly intricate and challenging BRAHMOS-A programme became a marvellous engineering and technological feat for India wherein BrahMos Aerospace, in close coordination with the IAF, HAL, DRDO, Russia’s Sukhoi and all other major defence entities, successfully modified, integrated and flight tested a weapon of such class and calibre from a fighter aircraft for the very first time in the world.

“The Su-30MKI armed with formidable BRAHMOS is going to be India’s ultimate trump card against any kind of enemy aggression,” says Dr Sudhir K Mishra, CEO & MD of BrahMos Aerospace.

“BRAHMOS is a very heavy missile and such a class of weapon has never been deployed by a powerful frontline air combat platform of any country in the world. BRAHMOS ALCM has enormously widened our Air Force’s stand-off air attack capability and has given it a distinct strategic edge over its adversaries,” adds the BrahMos Chief.

With India and Russia now willing to export the versatile BRAHMOS Weapon Systems in the international arms market to few selected friendly countries, it is the advanced BRAHMOS-ALCM which holds immense potential to open up newer avenues for the two partner nations in near future.

BRAHMOS wishes the Indian Air Force on 87th Air Force Day.