The BrahMos supersonic cruise missile was successfully test-fired from launch pad three of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur on Sunday. This is the second successful missile test conducted by the ITR within a fortnight.
The nuclear-capable Agni-III intermediate range ballistic missile with a range of over 3000-kms was successfully test-fired from ITR facilities at Wheeler Island on April 12. The BrahMos missile was last test-fired successfully on February 4 this year and this was the 14th launch of the missile.
The surface-to-surface missile, jointly developed by India and Russia, was fired from a mobile launcher at 11.21 am and it soared into the sky in clear weather conditions. The missile with a range of 290-km is meant for Army use, said sources in the ITR.
The missile is 9-metre tall and has a launch weight of 3.8 tonne. The missile took off from a mobile launcher with a multi-axle Tatra truck serving as the base platform. The missile was in user configuration. The ground range instrumentation at the ITR and the radar located near the impact point tracked the missile against pre-determined trajectory parameters.
The missile travels at mach 2.8 to 3. Mach number is the number of times the speed of sound an object itself moves. BrahMos is developed under am Indo-Russian joint venture programme following an agreement signed between the two countries on February 12, 1998.
While the land-to-land and ship-launched variants of the BrahMos missile have already been successfully test-fired several times, BrahMos Aerospace Private Ltd (the joint venture company between India and Russia created through an inter-governmental agreement in 1998) is now aiming for the launch of air-launched and submarine launched variants of the missile.
Sources said BrahMos Aerospace has already started talks with Indian Navy to get a Kilo-class or some other submarine on loan to launch the missile from under the sea. Sources also revealed that the submarine variants alternatively could be tested in Russian waters from a Russian submarine.
For the air-launched version, the missile would be integrated with Sukhoi MKI multi-role fighter aircraft. The air-launched version has a smaller booster and additional tail-fins for stability during launch.
The first flight test of the BrahMos missile was conducted on June 12, 2001 at the ITR, Chandipur. Flight-tests of BrahMos have taken taken place at regular intervals since 2001.