India and Russia are planning to test-fire the air-launched version of their jointly-developed BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from a Sukhoi-30 fighter aircraft in December next year.
Work on the air-launched version of the missile is in the final stages and BrahMos scientists are now waiting for the Su-30MKI aircraft from India to act as a platform for test launch of the missile, Defence Ministry sources told PTI in New Delhi.
The air-launched version, they said, will be lighter and smaller than the land-based version of the missile so that it can be fitted to the aircraft.
One of the two speed boosters in the missile has been removed for the air version of the weapon system as after being launched from an aircraft moving at a speed of more than 1.5 mach, the missile will automatically gain its momentum and maintain its speed of 2.8 mach, the sources said.
After being released from the aircraft, the missile will have a free fall of about 150 metres before getting activated and flying to its target.
The range and speed of the missile will remain the same as that of its land and ship-launched versions, they said.
For the integration of the aircraft with the missile, two of IAF Su-30 MKI planes will be used. These aircraft would be the part of the 40 additional Su-30s, for which orders were placed in 2006.