The revelation that the BrahMos supersonic missile can and does reach targets far beyond the 400-km range has finally established the long unspoken truth about its capability. This can become a game-changer in the South Asian security context. A report.
After nearly two decades of downplaying the true range of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, India finally came out in the open to declare that the missile can hit targets much beyond the originally declared range of 290 km. On March 11, 2017, India carried out a crucial test of the BrahMos missile, "as part of the capability enhancement endeavour", to announce that it had successfully hit targets at 450-km range.
The test was carried out from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur at Sea in Balasore district of Odisha state, and was called "a major milestone" for the missile "with an extended range." In a historical first, the formidable missile system once again proved its mettle to precisely hit enemy targets at much higher range than the current range of 290 km, with supersonic speed of 2.8 Mach, an official statement said that day.
During the launch, the land-attack version of the supersonic cruise missile system met its mission parameters in a copybook manner. It was a text book launch achieving 100 per cent results, executed with high precision from the Mobile Autonomous Launcher (MAL) deployed in full configuration.
The unique BrahMos weapon system has empowered all three wings of the Indian armed forces with impeccable anti-ship and land attack capability. The technology upgrade comes after India's full membership to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), which removed caps on range of BrahMos cruise missile in mid-2016.
"With the successful test firing of BrahMos Extended Range missile, BrahMos-ER, the Indian Armed Forces will be empowered to knock down enemy targets far beyond the 400-kms. BrahMos has thus proved its prowess once again as the best supersonic cruise missile system in the world," Dr. Sudhir Mishra, CEO & MD of BrahMos Aerospace, said from the launch site.
The new benchmark, which was set by Chairman DRDO Dr. S Christopher during Aero India 2017 in Bengaluru, has been remarkably achieved by BrahMos Aerospace. On February 15, 2017, Dr Christopher had said that India had decided to increase the range of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile to 450-km from the present 290-km. "After India joined the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), Russia and India had executed a proposal for undertaking joint technical development work for extending the range of the BrahMos missile beyond the 290-km", he had said then.
This increase in the BrahMos strike range will be applicable to practically every platform that uses the weapon system. At present, India uses three types of BrahMos missiles: Block I, Block II and Block III. These are available in land-based and warship-launched versions. The aircraft launched version of the missile is currently in testing phase and is likely to be fired and tested by end of 2016 or in early 2017.
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