MAKS 2021: Southeast Asian countries could purchase BrahMos supersonic air-launched cruise missiles

Southeast Asian countries are potential customers of the Russian-Indian BrahMos supersonic air-launched cruise missile, said Russian Head of the BrahMos Aerospace joint venture Alexander Maksichev to the Russian press agency TASS at the MAKS 2021 international aerospace show.

Southeast Asian countries could purchase BrahMos supersonic air launched cruise missiles 925 001 A Brahmos missile is displayed at MAKS 2021 AirShow in Russia. (Picture source Twitter account LCA Tejas Fanclub)

“The closest circle of potential buyers of the Russian-Indian BrahMos missile is the region around India,” Maksichev said. The Russian head also said that many Southeast Asian countries operate Sukhoi Su-30MK (NATO reporting name: Flanker-G) fighter jets and BrahMos missiles will enhance the planes’ combat potential.

“Unfortunately, the issue of orders for our missile has been suspended but not stopped due to the pandemic,” Maksichev said.

The Indian Air Force currently operates 40 Su-30MKI fighters designed to launch BrahMos missiles. The BrahMos air-launched missile has a range of 300 km (186 mi). It has been test-launched six times against ground and surface targets.

The BrahMos is a medium-range ramjet supersonic cruise missile jointly developed by the Russian Federation's NPO Mashinostroyeniya and India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), who together have formed BrahMos Aerospace.

BrahMos is a two-stage missile with a solid propellant booster engine as its first stage which brings it to supersonic speed and then gets separated. The liquid ramjet or the second stage then takes the missile closer to Mach 3 speed in the cruise phase. Stealth technology and guidance system with advance embedded software provide the missile with special features.

The BrahMos-A is a modified air-launched variant of the missile with a range of 500 km which can be launched from a Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter aircraft as a standoff weapon. It can be released from the height of 500 to 14,000 m (1,640 to 46,000 ft). After release, the missile free falls for 100–150 m, then goes into a cruise phase at 14,000 m and finally the terminal phase at 15 m.