India achieved another milestone in its defence programme by successfully test firing the submarine-launched version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile for the first time from a submerged platform off the Visakhapatnam coast on Wednesday.
Defence sources said the missile in its full operational configuration was launched from a pontoon (replica of a submarine) positioned nearly 30 feet deep in Bay of Bengal at about 2.10 pm.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director of BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited A Sivathanu Pillai said the missile took off vertically from the submerged platform for its full range of 290 kms and hit the target with high accuracy.
“It was a history for us as the mission achieved 100 percent success. All mission parameters have been successfully met and it was a copy book lunch,” Pillai told ‘The New Indian Express’ over phone.
This is the first time that a supersonic cruise missile is launched vertically from a submerged platform in the world. The success however came a week after the unsuccessful trial of India’s first sub-sonic cruise missile Nirbhay, which had veered from its path and was destroyed mid-way.
A release from the BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited stated that the missile emerged from underwater, took a turn towards the designated target and followed a pre-defined trajectory meeting all mission objectives. All the telemetry and tracking stations, including Indian naval ships positioned throughout the flight path, confirmed the pin-point accuracy of the mission.
“The missile is fully ready for fitment in P75 (I) of Indian Navy in vertical launch configuration which will make the platform one of the most powerful weapon platform in the world,” claimed Pillai.
Jointly developed by India and Russia, the nine-meter long missile can travel at thrice the speed of sound and carry a conventional warhead weighing upto 300 kg. The land and naval variants of BrahMos missile have already proved their mettle in both vertical and inclined launch configurations. The missile has been successfully inducted in a number of front-line Indian Navy warships and will be deployed in other future surface ships.
Defence scientists said the missile was capable of being launched from submarine from a depth of 40-50 meters. Integrated vertically with a modular launcher in the pressure hull of the submarine, the missile has identical configuration similar to its ship based system.
The submarines equipped with BrahMos missiles would increase the offensive power of the vessel without compromising on its defensive power as the torpedo tubes in it can be utilized for defence, the scientists added.
Defence Minister A K Antony has congratulated Indian scientists, Russian specialists and members from Indian Navy associated with the project for the successful mission.