The faster air version of the successful supersonic BrahMos cruise missile is being readied for tests on the Sukhoi-30 jets and the weapon is expected to be formally inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) by 2012, a top official said.
A final shape to the hypersonic missile BrahMos-II project being executed by the Indo-Russian joint venture BrahMos Aerospace would emerge shortly, the company CEO and Managing Director A Sivathanu Pillai told reporters.
Project authorities are awaiting the modified Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft that would be fitted with the sophisticated missile which can travel at speeds between Mach 5 and Mach 7. (Mach 1, which is the speed of sound, is equal to roughly 1,200 km per hour).
After being fitted on an aircraft, BrahMos-II will be the only cruise missile with the capability of being launched from land, sea and air, Pillai said.
The design team had already been lined up and discussions would be held shortly between the joint venture partners on investments, sharing of technical responsibilities, administration and sharing of manufacturing facility infrastructure, he said.
On the new version of BrahMos, Pillai said the preliminary exercise for its induction into the IAF is already on.
The design and development of this version had been fruitful and the advanced missile, which weighs 0.5 tonne less than that of the three-tonne land version BrahMos, was ready.
BrahMos, which has a capability of carrying 300 kg conventional warheads at a speed of around 2.8 Mach, has already been inducted into the Army and the Navy.
Pillai said he was hopeful that the target for induction of the air version set for 2012 would be achieved.