BENGALURU --- India will soon test an extended range BrahMos supersonic cruise missile whose reach has been increased from 290 km to 450 km, the country’s top military scientist said on Wednesday.
Defence Research and Development Organisation chief S Christopher told reporters at Aero India-2017 that the configuration of the existing missile - the world’s fastest supersonic cruise missile – has been tweaked to enhance its range.
He said the test was likely to be conducted on March 10. The missile is an Indo-Russian joint venture.
Increasing the missile’s range became possible after India’s induction into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) last June.
Christopher said another version of the missile with a strike range of 800 km was under development. The missile could be tested in two-and-a-half years. BrahMos variants can be launched from land, air, sea and under water.
India is currently carrying out tests of the air-launched BrahMos missile from specially-modified Sukhoi-30 fighter jets. The missile’s land and naval variants – 500kg heavier than the air version – are already in service.
Two Su-30 jets have been modified by the Nasik division of the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to carry the 2.5-tonne missile that flies at nearly three times the speed of sound. A Su-30 flew with an integrated BrahMos missile for the first time last June.
Air-launched BrahMos is expected to be ready for deployment later this year, and at least two Su-30 squadrons with 20 planes each are likely to be equipped with it.
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. The K in it is for Kalam (late President), the man who fired India’s missile and nuclear programme.