In a maiden yet successful effort, DRDO today test fired a BrahMos supersonic cruise missile for an extended range from Integrated Test Range (ITR), Chandipur. Multiple sources have indicated that the missile traversed over 450+ KMS before decimating the designated target. With this high profile and successful test, India’s regional strike capability has taken a quantum leap.

Dubbed the ‘BrahMos – ER (Extended Range)’, the missile was test fired by DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) from an Mobile Autonomous Launcher (MAL) in the presence of scientists from BrahMos Aerospace Limited and the end users.

According to sources, a Block-III land based variant missile took from the test range shortly after 11:30 AM and struck the designated target with pin-point accuracy. DRDO has officially confirmed about the successful launch of the system in a statement and has said “It was text book launch achieving 100% results, executed with high precision.” Dr S Christopher, Chairman, DRDO congratulated the developmental team from DRDO, BrahMos and NPOM.

Dr. Sudhir Mishra, CEO & MD, BrahMos Aerospace Limited, said “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 Kilometres range. BrahMos has thus proved its prowess once again as the best supersonic cruise missile in the world.”

The missile which was jointly developed by India and Russia under a Joint Venture (JV) prior to the test had an operational range of 290 kilometres.  The missile, however, was largely capable of striking targets designated well over 400 kilometres. But the range was capped by Russia as India was not a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).

Following India’s inclusion to the MTCR late last year, India and Russia begun developments to substantially boost the missile’s range. The test stands testimony to the work of scientists from DRDO and NPOM.

BrahMos has already entered into active service with the Indian Army and the Indian Navy. Indian Air Force (IAF) is expected to receive the air –version of the missile systems early next year. DRDO, BrahMos and IAF are currently working to test fire an air-launched version of BrahMos for the maiden time from a Sukhoi Su-30 MKI aircraft mid-April this year.

Further, the developmental agencies are also involved in the development of a more potent BrahMos missile that can strike targets as far as 800 kilometres away. Primary work for the development of air frame and a sustainable engine has already began at various associated laboratories of DRDO, NPOM and BrahMos Aerospace. The newer missile system is expected to have its maiden launch in early-2018.

BrahMos Aerospace is also working on a hypersonic version of the missile system which can travel at speeds of up to Mach 7. The missile when introduced will drastically reduce the response time of the enemies. Even to date, countries are world over struggling to develop a reliable interceptor system to counter BrahMos. The introduction of hypersonic version of BrahMos will only enhance India’ strike capabilities.

© Karthik Kakoor