India successfully tests longer range BrahMos supersonic cruise missile
India on Wednesday test-fired an extended-range BrahMos surface-to-surface supersonic cruise missile that can hit targets 400 km away, amid military tensions with China in the Ladakh sector, officials familiar with the development said. The range has been increased from the existing 290 km. The extended-range variant was tested from the Integrated Test Range at Balasore in Odisha.
“The missile featuring an indigenous booster and air-frame section along with many other ‘Made in India’ sub-systems was successfully flight tested for designated range at 1030 hours on Wednesday…It is one more major step in enhancing the indigenous content,” a defence ministry spokesperson said. The missile was tested for the second time.
The missile cruised at a top speed of Mach 2.8 (nearly three times the speed of sound). The configuration of the existing missile --- the world’s fastest supersonic cruise missile --- has been tweaked to enhance its range, the officials said.
Increasing the missile’s range became possible after India’s induction into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in June 2016.
Defence minister Rajnath Singh congratulated the Defence Research and Development Organisation and BrahMos Aerospace for the successful flight testing of the missile. “This achievement will give a big boost to India’s AtmaNirbharBharat Pledge,” the minister tweeted.
The existing BrahMos missile is deployed in the eastern Ladakh theatre where India and China are locked in a border row, the officials said.
The successful launch has paved the way for the serial production of the indigenous booster and other indigenous components of the powerful weapon system, the defence ministry said in a statement.
The missile, which has land, air and naval variants, is an Indo-Russian joint venture.
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.
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