NEW DELHI: The jointly developed India-Russia supersonic cruise missile, BrahMos, is all set to be the first of its kind to be integrated on a fighter aircraft for the Indian Air Force, claims Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). BrahMos is a precision strike weapon.
Earlier this year, HAL handed over the first Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft modified for the BrahMos missile. While the Indian Army & Indian Navy have already inducted the missile in service, the air-version of the BrahMos is scheduled to be flight tested by the IAF soon.
"HAL has taken up the integration of BrahMos missile on Su-30 MKI aircraft and this is the first time in the world that such a heavy weight (3000 kg) supersonic cruise missile is being integrated on a fighter aircraft," T Suvarna Raju, CMD of HAL told Economictimes.com.
Asked about the challenges faced in the modification of IAF's Su-30 MKI to integrate the missile, Suvarna Raju said, "Such an integration involved an in depth study of stress, load and aerodynamic analysis followed by design and development of structural, electrical and avionics modification schemes, fabrication of kits and qualification testing." "The aircraft was then modified by installation of these systems and subjected to required ground tests and flight trials," he explained.
How many fighter aircraft is HAL planning to modify? "HAL has already done integration of BrahMos on the Su-30 MKI aircraft and the quantum would depend upon the requirements of the customer, that is IAF," said T Suvarna Raju.
BrahMos has a range of 290 km, and a maximum velocity of 2.8 Mach. According to BrahMos Aerospace, the JV between India and Russia for the development of the missile, "The air-launched BrahMos is smaller and lighter than its previous variants but is equally lethal in firepower and devastating capability."
"Efforts are on to increase the speed of the missile to hypersonic levels around Mach 6.0 to further enhance its versatility," says BrahMos Aerospace.
According to a recent PTI report, the first test, a dead weight one, of the BrahMos integrated Sukhoi is likely to take place soon. The second test will be by firing a dummy missile while the third and fourth stages of testing will be with actual missile, but without the 200 kg warhead to validate the guidance system and accuracy. Two Sukhois will be used for the tests which will be completed in the next one year," the PTI report said.
The missile can be launched from multiple platforms including land, sea, sub-sea and air.
The Indian Navy, which has deployed the missile system on almost all the front line surface warships of the maritime force, recently test fired the BrahMos from its newly commissioned guided missile destroyer INS Kochi. The land-attack version of BrahMos model is fitted on the state-of-the-art Mobile Autonomous Launcher (MAL). The mobile land-based configuration of BrahMos has achieved several advancements over the years.
BrahMos missile is also capable of being launched from submarine from a depth of 40-50 metre. The missile is installed in a modular launcher vertically in the pressure hull of the submarine. The missile has identical configuration similar to the ship based system.
In the past ET has reported that India may look at exporting BrahMos missiles to Southeast Asia and South American countries. The inter-governmental agreement between India and Russia for development of BrahMos missile also stipulates use of this advanced system to be inducted into the Indian and Russian armed forces as well as export to friendly countries.