BHUBANESWAR: India on Saturday successfully conducted a maiden test of an extended-range version of supersonic cruise missile BrahMos from a defence base off the Odisha coast on Saturday. The technology upgrade comes after India’s full membership to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), which removed caps on a range of BrahMos cruise missile. The strike range of the missile has been enhanced from 290 km to 450 km.
Defence sources said the missile was fired from a mobile autonomous launcher (MAL) deployed in full configuration at Chandipur-based launching complex– III of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at about 11.30 am.
Scientists of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), who have significantly contributed to this advanced guidance system were thrilled to see the supersonic manoeuvres of the missile in the real time display, proving their immense effort.
All telemetry and tracking stations including naval ships near terminal point have confirmed the mission’s success. The missile took off successfully and hit the designated target meeting all mission parameters.
Confirming that the mission was successful, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Brahmos Aerospace Limited Dr Sudhir Kumar Mishra, who witnessed the launch, described it as a ‘textbook launch’ executed with high precision.
“In a historical first, the formidable missile system once again proved its mettle to precisely hit enemy targets at a much higher range. The land-attack version of the supersonic cruise system met its mission parameters in a copybook manner,” Dr Mishra said.
The new benchmark, which was set by DRDO Chairman Dr S Christopher during ‘Aero India 2017’ in Bengaluru, has been remarkably achieved by BrahMos Aerospace. The unique weapon system has empowered all three wings of the Indian armed forces with impeccable anti-ship and land attack capability.
“With the successful test firing, the Indian armed forces will be empowered to knock down enemy targets far beyond 400-km. BrahMos has thus proved its prowess once again as the best supersonic cruise missile system in the world,” Dr Mishra claimed.
Dr Christopher congratulated the BrahMos team, DRDO and scientists of Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyenia (NPOM) involved in the successful mission.
The missile, which derives its name from the Brahmaputra and Moskova rivers, was developed by an Indo-Russian joint venture after the two countries signed an agreement in February 1998. The nine-meter long missile can travel at thrice the speed of sound and carry a conventional warhead weighing up to 300 kg.
The land based weapon complex comprises of four to six mobile autonomous launchers controlled by a mobile command post (MCP), and a mobile replenishment vehicle (MRV).
The missiles can be fired on three different targets or in a variety of other combinations simultaneously. The land-based version is also equipped with an inertial navigation system and global positioning system (GPS).
“The strike range was extended only with better internal systems including fuel management. There was no change in other dimensions,” informed an official associated with the project.
BrahMos is the only supersonic cruise missile-possessing the advanced capability, providing an edge to the user with a precise hit. The Indian army is the first army in the world to have a regiment of supersonic cruise missiles with advanced capabilities.
BrahMos Project Director VSN Murthy and Programme Director Dashrath Ram along with other senior officers from DRDO and BrahMos Aerospace were present during the launch. The launch was witnessed by Deputy Chief of Army Staff, Director General Artillery, Corps Commander and many other senior officers from the Indian Army.