BrahMos Aerospace Limited was launched as a 50-50 joint venture between India and Russia in 2001. Initially, Russians supplied nearly 60% of the components including the most important ones like the engine and the guidance system. However, the Project had been established with a definite aim. Over the years, we slowly and steadily began developing indigenous components though there were some opposition from the Russians.
The missile had the initial range capped at 290km in spite of having the capability to achieve longer ranges. This was due to the fact that Russians were the member of MTCR and India was not. Russians did not want to be branded as violators of an agreement made with the member countries. It was an open secret that MTCR itself was made to thwart the determination of our Iron Lady Mrs Indira Gandhi to make India self-sufficient in missile technology through IGMDP. Abdul Kalam enabled India to achieve complete success.
With success of PRITHVI, AGNI, AKASH and others finally MTCR had no choice left but to request India to join the very club. After joining the club the range of BRAHMOS was at once proclaimed as 400 km, its true range even at that time. It goes without saying that even earlier had a need arisen to fir BRAHMOS in anger at a range beyond 290 km, then it would have been done ignoring MTCR.
Recently India tested Brahmos supersonic cruise missile with an Indian-made seeker achieving better performance than before. With a speed of three times that of sound or roughly 3300 km per hour and now pinpoint accuracy at 400km, this missile will become a game changer.
The kinetic energy generated at impact itself can critically damage ships Destroyers and Frigates. Combined with the explosive content of the missile’s warhead it has the potential of even damaging an aircraft carrier. Imagine four to six SU MKI firing simultaneously one BRAHMOS each, at an aircraft carrier.
India is already nearing completion of the next version of BRAHMOS with a range of 900 km. We are also working on a miniature version of the missile to enable our Sukhois to carry two to four of these deadly missiles.
With the Sukhois having a combat radius of around 1300km and maximum range of 3000km (hi-hi) plus 900km of missile, we will have the capability to interdict anything within the Indian Ocean Region and deep into Indo Pacific also. Combine this with aerial refuelling at strategic points and we get the capability to strike half way round the globe. Plainly speaking the Chinese Navy will have to watch out even when their ships are berthed in their Naval bases.
BrahMos Missiles and its variants have been in production for now nearly two decades. Work is on for developing a hypersonic missile with speed of 8 to 10 Mach. we also need to standardize the ground, naval, air and miniaturized versions of this missile and go for the required numbers for each service with adequate reserves for a short intense two-front war. There is also a need to export a few versions of this missile to selected friendly countries…..now we too are members if MTCR!!
The Article is Written By Colonel Awadhesh Kumar, Veteran Special Forces