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The recent successful test-firing of a BrahMos cruise missile from a frontline warship in the Bay of Bengal has sparked widespread speculation about a potential breakthrough in its range capabilities. While official confirmation remains elusive, several clues suggest this may be the first test of an extended-range BrahMos, marking a significant leap in India’s offensive firepower.

Traditionally limited to a range of 290 kilometers due to Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) regulations, the BrahMos missile received a range boost to 450 kilometers after India joined the MTCR in 2016. However, DRDO officials have consistently hinted at the potential for further range expansion through hardware upgrades, targeting a groundbreaking 800 kilometers.

The designated area for the recent test, as evident in the Notice to Airmen (NOTAM), covered a staggering 900 kilometers, significantly exceeding the BrahMos’ current operational range. This, coupled with the ongoing research on 800-kilometer hardware upgrades, fuels speculation that the test might be the first step towards realizing the missile’s extended range potential.

Defense experts Ranesh Rajan told that he believes an 800-km range BrahMos would significantly boost the offensive capabilities of the Indian military. For the Navy, it translates to the ability to strike land targets from a safe standoff distance and engage enemy warships at sea. For the Army, it opens up the possibility of hitting any part of Pakistan and reaching deep into Chinese-occupied Tibet.

The recent test, if confirmed to be the first for the extended range version, marks a crucial milestone in India’s quest for advanced missile technology. It could potentially alter regional power dynamics and necessitate strategic recalculations by potential adversaries.

The Bay of Bengal test has undoubtedly opened a new chapter in India’s missile development journey. The potential of an 800km BrahMos is both exciting and daunting, demanding a measured response that balances strategic advantages with regional stability.

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