With the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) giving its nod for acquisition of air version of high-precision supersonic cruise missile BrahMos, India has set up another manufacturing and system integration plant in Thiruvananthapuram to increase the production of the missiles.
The Army and Navy have already inducted land and sea versions of BrahMos. The recent order for 200 air version of the missiles for the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Sukhoi fighter jets is pegged at `6,000 crore.
“This is the second manufacturing and integration facility inaugurated in Kerala,” official said.
The BrahMos will be retrofitted on the Russian-built Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jets. The integration of missile - co-developed by India and Russia - will be done by the Indian aerospace major Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL). Presently, two Su-30MKI fighter jets are being equipped with the air version of BrahMos and the tests are scheduled to be held by December end.
The air version of the missile with a range of 290 km is shorter than its variants. The releasing equipment for the missile, manufactured at Thiruvananthapuram facility, is presently “under trial”. If the trial of the BrahMos air version by the modified Sukhoi aircraft is successful, then the changes will be incorporated by Russia at design stage of the fighter jet itself.
Its first flight trial on June 12, 2001 had catapulted India into the category of the only nation capable to produce its own supersonic cruise missile with a range of 290 km and a capability to be fired from land, air and sea. The joint venture with Russia to develop BrahMos, which takes its name from Brahmputra and Moskova rivers, changed India’s position from arms importer to co-developer.
The Indian Army has already inducted two regiments of the missile, and the Indian Navy’s warships have been equipped with the potent missile. Besides the air version, plans are afoot to develop an underwater version of the missile.