Sukhoi-30MKI, the most potent weapon platform in the Indian Air Force, will soon take to the skies with the supersonic BrahMos missile.
The lethal combination would add to the IAF’s striking capabilities as the fighter jets carrying the missiles are expected to be inducted into its fleet by 2014.
“The project has now reached a crucial stage. Currently, we are working on integration and interface of the missile with the aircraft systems. It will be completed in a few months and the first missile launch will be conducted by end of 2013,” Praveen Pathak, General Manager, BrahMos Aerospace Indo-Russian Joint Venture, told Express on Thursday.
Two SU-30MKI aircraft are currently being used for the missile integration work at HAL’s Nasik facility. Ground trials are already complete and the airborne launcher to be mounted on the aircraft was tested recently.
After integration of the missile with the aircraft, trials will be conducted by launching the missile from an airborne platform to evaluate the separation of the missile and missile fire. Once released from the aircraft, missile will have a free fall of 200 meters before its first engine fires.
The supersonic BrahMos missile with a 300-km range is meant to neutralise high value assets and targets like communication towers, power station, bridges and ammunition dumps in enemy zone.
The missile requires just four minutes for pre-launch preparation and it can strike a target which is 300 km away within six minutes.A team from BrahMos Aerospace, an Indo-Russian Joint Venture is working on the project along with the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and experts from Sukhoi Design Bureau from Russia, it is learnt.