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India to fire BrahMos from submarine

The submarine launch will put India among the few countries capable to launch underwater supersonic missiles.

india Updated: Jan 28, 2007 11:28 IST

India is almost ready with its undersea launch version of the supersonic BrahMos cruise missile and wants the Navy to help in preliminary test trials by the end of the year.

The Navy's help is being sought as the DRDO lacks a platform to undertake tests of the submarine launch Brahmos missile which will put India among the few countries who have the capability to launch underwater supersonic missiles.

The Indian Navy's present fleet of just upgraded Kilo class submarines do not have the capability to test fire such missiles, BrahMos Aerospace CEO A Sivathanu Pillai said.

"We are in talks with the Navy to loan one of their expanded Kilo-class or some other submarine to undertake the tests," he said.

Alternately, New Delhi has also proposed that initial tests could be undertaken in Russian waters on Russian naval platform.

"We are ready with the designs and looking for a platform to launch the missile from under the sea," Pillai said.

India has already inducted the warship version of the 290-km range missile and the surface-to-surface version is also ready for induction this year, he said.

"We need a five-metre space on the submarine to store the missile module -- each one carrying eight missiles," Pillai said.

Pillai said the 12 tests of BrahMos missile, carried out in extreme conditions, have been successful and scientists were working on projects to equip multi-role Sukhoi fighter aircraft with the missile.

"Currently, we can arm the Su 30 MkI with a single missile. We want to add one weapon each beneath the wing of the aircraft for which the wings need to be reinforced," he said.

Pillai said the BrahMos will meet all its delivery schedules for the Indian armed forces as this was the priority for the company.

He said BrahMos, that operates in extreme temperatures ranging between minus 50 degrees Celsius and 55 degrees Celsius, is world class and the only missile in its category and could be fired within four minutes at a target.

Governments of India and Russia, joint venture partners in developing the missile, have already identified countries to which the lethal weapon can be sold.

"We aim to sell about 1,000 missiles in the near future to clients in India, Russia and some friendly countries," Pillai said.

According to a survey conducted by the joint venture, various countries across the world have about 80,000 missiles and there is a market for at least 2,000 BrahMos missiles.

"The market could be even bigger than analysed as many missiles currently in use are becoming outdated," he said.