The Indian Army, on Tuesday, conducted a successful test-firing of the land-attack version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from the Andaman and Nicobar island territory as part of a series of planned launches scheduled for this week.
The latest test, and ones expected to follow, come despite the land-attack variant already having been deployed in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh along with howitzers, tanks, surface-to-air missiles and other weapons.
Regarded as one of the world’s finest supersonic cruise missiles, the BrahMos has a speed of roughly 2.8 Mach (nearly 3,000 km) making it incredibly difficult for enemy combatants to target and shoot it down. For perspective, conventional missiles like the US’ Tomahawk travel at around 900 km – a speed at which supersonic aircraft can overtake them.
On September 30, the Army successfully test-fired an extended range variant of the BrahMos that, reportedly, struck a target over 400km away. The current version of the BrahMos in use is said to have a range of 290 km. Currently, the Indian Army has four BrahMos regiments but it will be years before the extended range version comes into operational service in the 5th and 6th BrahMos regiments.
The real value of the BrahMos missile can be leveraged during opening stages of a conflict. The missile can be used to take out heavily defended enemy targets like airbases, critical roadways, logistics dumps or army headquarters that may be difficult to reach without risk for India’s fighter aircraft.