The potency of the army’s strategic armoury went up a few notches on Thursday with the induction of the supersonic BrahMos land attack cruise missile capable of flying 2.8 times the speed of sound to strike targets 290 km away.
Less than two years after Pakistan test fired its first cruise missile Babur, President A P J Abdul Kalam handed over a replica of the mobile autonomous launchers of the terrain-hugging missile to Army chief General J J Singh, in an act symbolic of the BrahMos’ induction.
BrahMos Aerospace was to kickoff the delivery of the missile system in July 2008, but the Indian-Russian joint venture has beaten that deadline quite comfortably and set the stage for working on a hypersonic version capable of flying five to seven times the speed of sound.
Dubbing the venture a great template for international cooperation, Kalam said time had come for BrahMos Aerospace to work on Mark-II version of the cruise missile to establish and maintain its supremacy in the hypersonic cruise missile market.
The President asked BrahMos Aerospace to aggressively market the world-class missile, which would have a market shelf life of not more than 5 years. He said, “No smart developer can afford to lose the competitive edge…”
The army plans to induct three missile batteries, each with four road mobile autonomous launchers, to raise its first BrahMos regiment. The government has approved three BrahMos regiments.