BrahMos Aerospace, the Joint Venture between India’s Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) and Russia’s JSC MIC NPO Mashinostroyeniya (NPOM), was established in February 1998 to develop BRAHMOS – a medium-range ramjet supersonic cruise missile – capable of being launched from Land, Air and Sea. The BRAHMOS billed as the world’s fastest supersonic cruise missile, has been operationalised in the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force.
Dr Sudhir Kumar Mishra, Distinguished Scientist & Director General (BrahMos), DRDO, and CEO & MD of BrahMos Aerospace has highlighted his priorities as Indigenisation of missile development in India, capacity building for larger production, meeting the production orders ahead of schedule to ensure delivery of missiles on time and to ensure different versions of BRAHMOS missiles to meet the aspirations and requirements of the defence force including Army, Navy & Air Force.
Consequently, in its quest for self-sufficiency and as part of the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ effort, BrahMos Aerospace has carried out several successful missile tests. Today, different versions of the BRAHMOS missile can be fired from land, naval and air platforms. The successful induction of BRAHMOS in all three services has made India the first and only country in the world to complete the “supersonic cruise missile triad”.
BrahMos, a historical milestone
As part of the mission to enhance indigenous content in the BRAHMOS missile system, BRAHMOS has achieved historic milestones in the flagship “Make in India” programme by successfully indigenising major sub-systems such as booster, nose cap, canister, fuel management system and other major non-metallic airframe components taking the Indian contribution to more than seventy per cent. All launcher systems for the weapon are also being manufactured domestically. 100% of ground support equipment for the weapon complex are also being made in India.
The BRAHMOS missile has already been fitted on Indian Air Force’s Su-30MKI frontline fighter aircraft. There are plans to fit a wide range of modern military platforms with the next generation BRAHMOS-NG which will be lighter, travels much faster and can hit targets with precision at 300 km, in an effort to boost the strike capability of the fighter aircraft in combat situations. The hypersonic BRAHMOS-II, on the other hand, is expected to have a speed of Mach 5-7.
Exciting developments are also taking place in the naval version of the BRAHMOS. On 18 October 2020, the supersonic cruise missile was successfully test-fired from the Indian Navy’s indigenously built stealth destroyer, INS Chennai, which hit its target with pin-point accuracy after performing high-level and extremely complex manoeuvres.
The ability of the BRAHMOS to engage naval targets at long ranges will ensure the warship’s invincibility making the destroyer another lethal platform of the Indian Navy. In its sub-sea launch configuration, the supersonic cruise missile is set to increase the Navy’s underwater weapons delivery capability manifold by being armed in future submarines. The weapon has already become the mainstay of the Indian Army’s artillery firepower with several regiments raised.
The BRAHMOS has established itself as a major force multiplier for the Indian Armed Forces, greatly strengthening the capability of the military to strike at hostile targets at long ranges with pinpoint accuracy.