India’s Armed forces – Army, Navy, and the Air Force – are conducting back-to-back tests of various versions of BrahMos missile. A look at the supersonic cruise missile, the significance of its land, sea, and air-launched versions and the strategic posturing behind the ongoing series of tests in the light situation with China and of competition in the strategically important Indian Ocean Region.
What is the BrahMos missile which the tri-services are testing?
A combination of the names of Brahmaputra and Moskva rivers, BrahMos missiles are designed, developed and produced by BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture company set up by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Mashinostroyenia of Russia. Various versions of the BrahMos, including those which can be fired from land, warships, submarines and Sukhoi-30 fighter jets have already been developed and successfully tested in the past. The earliest versions of the ship launched BrahMos and land-based system are in service of the Indian Navy and the Indian Army since 2005 and 2007 respectively.
BrahMos is a two-stage missile with solid propellant booster as first stage and liquid ramjet as the second stage. The cruise missiles like BrahMos are a type of systems known as the ‘standoff range weapons’ which are fired from a range sufficient to allow the attacker to evade defensive fire from the adversary. These weapons are in the arsenal of most major militaries in the world. The versions of the BrahMos that are being tested have an extended range of around 400 kilometers, as compared to its initial range of 290 kilometers, with more versions of higher ranges currently under development.
On November 24, the Indian Army successfully launched its BrahMos from Car Nicobar Islands in a ‘top-attack’ configuration hitting a target in Bay Bengal. (PTI)
What is the significance of having land, sea and air-launched BrahMos?
The land-based system: The land-based Brahmos Complex has four to six mobile autonomous launchers, with each having three missiles on board that can be fired almost simultaneously. Batteries of the BrahMos missile land based systems have been deployed along India’s land borders in various theatres.