It will be deployed on Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft

BrahMos Aerospace on Wednesday firmed up a contract worth Rs. 6,515 crore with the Indian Air Force for manufacturing the air version of the supersonic cruise missile, a product of Indo-Russian collaboration.

The contract was signed close on the heels of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) endorsing the Air Force requirement for the missile under development, which will be deployed on the Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft.

The missile, with a take-off mass of 2,500 kg and a stand-off range of 290 km, is already in operation with the Army and the Navy.

The air version, though, will be lighter and a tad shorter than the existing missile so that it can be gravity-dropped from the aircraft and fired. It will still be the heaviest of all missiles carried by the Russian-origin aircraft.

The fabrication of the missile will be done at the BrahMos facility in Hyderabad with key components made at the BrahMos Aerospace Thiruvananthapuram Limited (BATL), which has proven its mettle by designing and developing the airborne launcher that will be integrated onto the Su-30 MKI fuselage.

Two Sukhoi aircraft allocated by the Air Force for test-flying and qualifying the missile are currently being modified for the purpose at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited in Lucknow. Given the weight of the missile, the undercarriage of the aircraft is being strengthened to take it on.

Defence sources said that the missile would be qualified against targets at sea and on land in a staggered fashion before the end of 2013.

After successful integration of the launcher with the aircraft, a dummy missile would be flown. This will be followed by a few test-flights of the ‘electronic missile,’ meant to check the electronic circuits and the cockpit-controlled release mechanism. Firing of live missile against designated targets will take place towards the end of next year.

The Air Force is said to have laid out an induction plan for the BrahMos, with at least two Sukhoi squadrons being equipped with the potent missile initially.

Meanwhile, the underwater version of the missile is set for a launch from a pontoon off Visakhapatnam later this month. It is expected to arm conventional submarines to be built under the Navy’s Project 75 (I).

  • Fabrication will be done at BrahMos facility in Hyderabad

  • It will be qualified against targets at sea and on land