In what will provide the Indian Air Force (IAF) with additional lethality, the actual integration process of the BrahMos missile with the frontline fighter jet, the Sukhoi-30-MKI, is set to commence.
The integration, including mating of the 2.4 tonne (2,400 kg) missile — a miniature version of the existing 3,000 kg Naval and land-based BrahMos — is slated to commence in October. It would include four stages of testing with progress depending on the validation of each step and is expected to be a six-month process, concluding in March next year.
The Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of BrahMos Aerospace, Dr Sudhir Kumar Mishra, confirmed to The Tribune: “Tests of Sukhois carrying BrahMoS are slated to commence in October. Integration of the missile with the Sukhoi-30-MKI is a complex system.”
Sources said the first test will be with dead weight of 2,400 kg. The second test will be by carrying a dummy missile and firing it from the plane. The third and fourth stages of testing are scheduled with actual missiles — but without the 200 kg warhead — and will validate the guidance system and accuracy. All tests will be carried out over the Bay of Bengal.
The BrahMos missile — a joint venture between India and Russia — is a two-stage supersonic cruise missile that, once fired, skims along the surface at a height of just 3-4 metre, making it impossible for enemy radars to pick it up. The IAF version will include a “free fall” system allowing the pilot to fire the missile from an altitude as low as 1,000 feet and as high as 46,000 feet. The missile is programmed to adjust the “free fall” and strike at the selected target. This adjustment of the free fall will be part of the four-stage test.
The missile has a 290-km range developed for destruction of high value and strategic installation. The missile has mid-course inertial guidance followed by homing guidance.
Ajay Banerjee Tribune News Service New Delhi, September 27