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India successfully test fires Brahmos missile with home-made seeker


The Russian-Indian BrahMos Aerospace joint venture (JV) has successfully test-fired a BRAHMOS missile fitted with a seeker developed by Indian industry, according to the press office of the company.The Russian-Indian BrahMos Aerospace joint venture (JV) has successfully test-fired a BRAHMOS missile fitted with a seeker developed by Indian industry, according to the press office of the company.


India successfully test fires Brahmos missile with home made seeker 001 The Brahmos-A air-launched cruise missile during a previous test
(Credit: Indian Air Force)


"India’s ambitious defense indigenization program made a breakthrough on March 22, when the universal BRAHMOS Weapon System fitted with an indigenously developed seeker was successfully test-fired from the Pokhran test range in Rajasthan," the press office said in a statement. "This is the first time India has developed the seeker for a missile of such class," it added.India`s Minister of Defense Nirmala Sitharaman congratulated the BrahMos Aerospace JV, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the indigenous industry, and the military on the abovementioned success. "[I] congratulate DRDO, the [Indian] Armed Forces and defense industry on the successful flight test of the BRAHMOS supersonic cruise missile. The successful test will further bolster our national security," she writes in her Twitter blog.The head of the BrahMos Aerospace JV Sudhir Mishra also expressed his gratitude for the successful test-firing of the BRAHMOS missile.

"Scientists and engineers from DRDO and BrahMos Aerospace have been working tirelessly on this [BRAHMOS] major project to design, develop and manufacture critical subsystems in India. [We] have achieved a remarkable success with today’s launch," the chief of the BrahMos Aerospace company said after launch.It should be mentioned that the BRAHMOS program is now developing at a quickened pace. In March 2017, the BrahMos Aerospace company successfully tested the BRAHMOS-ER (Extended Range) cruise missile. India`s Ministry of Defense (MoD) then said that the weapon had a much higher range than that of the baseline BRAHMOS (290 km).

Therefore, the firing range of the BRAHMOS-ER missile is believed to be nearly 400-600 km. Since New Delhi joined the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in 2016, the country can develop and test missiles with a range of over 290 km intended for the Indian Armed Forces.India also test-fires the updated variants of the baseline BRAHMOS. In May 2017, the military conducted two consecutive successful launches of the BRAHMOS Block III land-attack cruise missile. According to the Press Information Bureau (PIB) of India`s government, the weapon demonstrated a circular error probability (CEP) of no more than 1 m. Previously, the BRAHMOS Block III missile had been used during five consecutive launches with hitting of ground-based targets in top-attack mode.

In November 2017, the BrahMos Aerospace JV test-fired the BRAHMOS-A (Air-launched) air-launched cruise missile (ALCM). On November 22, a Su-30MKI (NATO reporting name: Flanker-E) fighter jet of the Indian Air Force (IAF) successfully fired a BRAHMOS-A ALCM against a sea-based target in the Bay of Bengal. This variant of the missile is reported to have a weight of about 2.5 t. The modification of the Su-30MKI multirole combat aircraft for the BRAHMOS-A started in late 2017. The IAF is planning to get two squadrons of Flanker-E fighter jets armed with the aforementioned ALCMs.India is also planning to develop a lighter variant of the BRAHMOS-A designated BRAHMOS-NG (New Generation). In late 2017, an Indian military official told the Times Now news channel that the BRAHMOS-NG would be ready in 2019.

This ALCM is expected to be integrated with India`s indigenous Tejas LCA (Light Combat Aircraft) single-engine fighter jet. According to local sources, the BRAHMOS-NG will have a length of 6 m, a diameter of 0.5 m, a weight of nearly 1,500 kg (including a 300 kg warhead), a firing range of 290 km, and a speed of up to Mach 3.5.In mid-January, Indian officials said DRDO was planning to test-fire a variant of the BRAHMOS missile with a firing range of nearly 800 km by end-2018. The type of the missile (land-, sea- or air-based) was not mentioned; however, the Diplomat magazine points out it might be a modified version of the BRAHMOS-A ALCM intended for the Su-30MKI fighter jet.

The new ALCM is believed to be able to engage targets at a distance of up to 800 km, any additional details about the weapon have not been published yet.The IAF is widening its cooperation with the BrahMos Aerospace JV. The service is known to have placed orders worth approximately USD650 million for the BRAHMOS-A ALCM, the IHS Jane`s think-tank says. Therefore, the backlog of orders of the Russian-Indian JV is reported to have increased to nearly USD2.7 billion.