Latest upgrades to the Indo-Russian BrahMos cruise missile make it a sub-strategic super weapon capable of being launched from land, sea, sub-sea and air platforms, say Russian defence industry officials.

The Izvestia daily quoted a defence industry source as saying that the BrahMos missile, test fired from the Russian-built frigate INS Teg, had a new satellite guidance system borrowed from Russia’s long-range cruise missile X-555 and its latest version, X-101. The new guidance technology, which uses Global Navigation Satellite System (Glonass) — Russia’s alternative to the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS) — has been added to the BrahMos’ Doppler-inertial guidance system to increase its range and precision.

“The integration of the X-555 and BrahMos navigation systems has produced a super rocket with a sub-strategic capability above its tactical range. Fired from land, air and sea platforms, it can hit targets at ranges of 300 to 500 kilometres and is also capable of carrying a nuclear warhead,” said the unnamed Russian official.

If the BrahMos range, originally limited to 290 km, has indeed been increased to 500 km, it would put Russia in violation of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), which bans export of rocket technology exceeding a 300 km range threshold to countries like India, that are not members of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

India plans to mount the BrahMos on its Sukhoi 30MKI long-range fighters. Flight tests of a Su-30MKI fitted with a modified BrahMos missile will start before the end of the year and firing tests will be conducted next year, said Alexander Dergachev, deputy head of the NPO Mashinostroenie, which developed the Yakhont supersonic missile, prototype of the BrahMos.

Mr. Dergachev also revealed that a submarine-launched version of the BrahMos will be test fired from a submerged platform for the first time by year-end. If the tests are successful, the BrahMos will become a truly universal missile that can be mounted on all types of platforms — ground mobile launchers, aircraft, surface warships and submarines.