Staff Reporter

TIRUPATI: Newer terrain-specific versions of the supersonic Brahmos missile, dubbed as India's modern "Brahmastra," will be developed for use in the Army, A. Sivathanu Pillai, Chief Executive Officer of BrahMos Aerospace told The Hindu .

After securing a berth in the naval establishment, the missile is all set to be inducted into the Army and Air Force in two years. BrahMos Aerospace, is an Indo-Russian joint venture.

Dr. Pillai, is now involved in the commercialisation of the missile.

Dr. Pillai, who is also the Chief R&D Controller of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), said the BrahMos was a class apart. "The Russians were successful in enhancing propulsion, while India had an edge in guidance technology. Thus, our product got both the qualities vital for the success of a missile. While the others had a speed less than that of sound, BrahMos travels faster than sound. Developed with the supersonic-based Ramjet technology, it can be flown both horizontally and vertically guided at a target. We can simply fire and forget."

He said the Navy was delighted with the missile's prowess in hitting targets at sea.

"It can sink a ship in a mere three minutes," he said, pointing to the missile's kinetic energy. For the country having such a long coastline, the possession of BrahMos can be crucial.

As for the Army, Dr. Pillai is keen on designing newer versions and warheads to suit areas such as deserts and hilly terrain.

'Win-win situation'

Asked about the basis for the joint venture, he said Russia found it increasingly important to sustain its R&D achievements after the collapse of the Soviet Union, while India saw an opportunity in getting on to a step higher in the arena of cruise missiles.

Dr. Pillai, who addressed students at a couple of engineering colleges in Tirupati, said universities should act as "incubators of technology" by kindling the scientific spirit in students.