India on Saturday successfully tested an extended range BrahMos supersonic cruise missile whose reach has been increased from 290 km to 400 km, from a test range along the Odisha coast.
The cruise missile was test fired from a mobile launcher from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur near Balasore at about 11.30 am, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) officials said.
The missile is capable of carrying a warhead of 300 kg.
“The land-attack version of the supersonic cruise missile system met its mission parameters in a copybook manner…executed with high precision from the mobile autonomous launcher deployed in full configuration,” a BrahMos Aerospace spokesperson said. The missile is an Indo-Russian joint venture.
Increasing the missile’s range became possible after India’s induction into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) last June. The configuration of the existing missile has been tweaked to enhance its range.
“With the successful test firing of the missile, the Indian armed forces will be empowered to knock down enemy targets far beyond 400 kms,” BrahMos Aerospace CEO Sudhir Mishra said. He told HT, “The missile is more accurate than a rifle at 100-metre range.”
Another version of the missile with a strike range of 800 km is under development.
India is currently carrying out tests of the air-launched BrahMos missile from specially-modified Sukhoi-30 fighter jets. The missile’s land and naval variants – 500kg heavier than the air version – are already in service.
Two Su-30 jets have been modified by the Nasik division of the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to carry the 2.5-tonne missile that flies at nearly three times the speed of sound.
Air-launched BrahMos is expected to be ready for deployment later this year, and at least two Su-30 squadrons with 20 planes each are likely to be equipped with it.
India is also working on a hypersonic missile, BrahMos-II (K), capable of taking out hardened targets such as underground bunkers and weapon storage facilities at seven times the speed of sound (Mach 7) or 8,575 kmph. The K in it is for Kalam (late President), the man who fired India’s missile and nuclear programme.