Brahmos missile's induction on anvil
With all the four test firings going without blemish, Army is planning to induct the Brahmos supersonic land attack cruise missile months ahead of schedule.
The first missile sub-group to be equipped with Brahmos has already become operational and in the first order, Army will get 12 launchers comprising four mobile autonomous launchers, according to DRDO sources in New Delhi.
Army is planning to induct the Brahmos, which will be heralded by President APJ Abdul Kalam, during the middle of the year.
The proposed early induction of the supersonic cruise missile will come even as American satellite images showed that Pakistan was in the process of deploying its next generation Shaheen II missiles which have the range to hit any part of India.
Brahmos Chief Executive A Sivathanu Pillai termed it as a missile with no equivalent in the world and said all its four tests -- two in Pokhran and two at the interim test range at Chandipur -- validated all the technical parameters. The missile has a range of 290 kms.
"It is ready for induction and upgrades can be carried out even after its becomes operational with the Army," he said. Army had signed an agreement in March 2006 which stipulated that the land version of the missile would be delivered to it by the middle of next year.
In the last two tests, Army personnel fired the missile independent of scientists from their own complex, sources said.
The land attack version of the Brahmos uses thermal sensors which gives the missile a capability to be ready for firing within two minutes, unlike, the existing short-range surface-to-surface Prithvi missile that require a 20-minute preparation time.
When the first sub-group becomes operational, it will give the Army the punch to fire 12 missiles at 12 different targets simultaneously within 30 seconds.
During tests, DRDO sources said the land attack cruise missile (LACM) had demonstrated zero circular error probability, marking it a weapon of almost pinpoint precision.
According to DRDO officials, efforts are on to imbibe the scramjet technology into the missile to increase its speed to almost Mach eight, which is eight times the speed of sound.
With the induction of the Brahmos missile, Army will now be equipped with four types of missiles ranging from LACM, short range Prithvi, 700 km range Agni to medium range 2,000 km Agni II missile, leading to the possibility of the Army going in for a separate missile division.