In 1998, India signed an agreement with Russia to design, develop, manufacture and market BrahMos, a supersonic cruise missile system jointly developed by India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Russia’s NPOM, launchable from land, aircraft, ships, and submarines.
BrahMos is a modification of Soviet-era anti-ship missiles (Oniks, Yakont) developed by the Reutov Design Bureau in the late 1980s. The name is derived from India’s Brahmaputra and Russia’s Moskva rivers. The first test launch was conducted on June 12, 2001, at the Chandipur range in Odisha, India, and subsequently, the production of missiles began at enterprises in both countries.
Development of these cruise missiles is a natural progression for India, in seeking to develop various platforms for its military arsenal, either on its own or with a partner — but nevertheless, in India, and thus it became the first Make in India venture.
BrahMos is technically a ramjet-powered supersonic cruise missile with a solid propellant booster that can be launched from land-based canisters, submarines, ships and now aircraft. Travelling at speeds of Mach 2.8 to 3.0, it is the world’s fastest cruise missile, about three-and-a-half times faster than the American subsonic Harpoon cruise missile.
Since its maiden successful test firing conducted on June 12, 2001, BrahMos has undergone a record number of over 70 flight tests to date from land, sea, sub-sea and air platforms, thereby validating its multifarious capability to completely annihilate high-value ground and sea-based targets with ultimate speed, pin-point accuracy and devastating firepower in all weather conditions by day and night. One of its s
pecial features is its ability to fly extremely close to the ground to avoid missile defence systems. In fact, during the terminal phase, the missile can fly as low as 10 m to the ground. In the final phase, the missile relies on an active radar seeker or inertial guidance.