P. Venugopal

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A few workers were pulling down the ‘Keltec’ signboard at the gate and replacing it with one that said ‘BrahMos Aerospace (Trivandrum) Limited.’

Inside the factory compound, the ‘most destructive precision-target cruise missile in the world’ stood glistening in the morning sun poised for some long range strike on the platform of a trailer-truck kind of vehicle.

The man known in Indian scientific circles as the ‘Missile Man of India,’ A. Sivathanu Pillai, stood before the BrahMos missiles on Sunday explaining what the arrival of the Indo-Russian missile manufacturing company BrahMos Aerospace Limited to the premises of Kerala Hitech Industries Limited (Keltec) in Thiruvananthapuram could mean.

The Thiruvananthapuram unit of BrahMos formally comes into existence on Monday with Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan handing over to the company the whole premises of Keltec and its 200-odd employees.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony would receive this gift from the State government on behalf of BrahMos.

Ruthless efficiency

Dr. Sivathanu Pillai, the managing director and chief executive officer of BrahMos, describes the Tom Hawk missiles with which the United States fought the Gulf War with ruthless destructive efficiency as “old generation cruise missiles” when compared to the BrahMos missiles.

BrahMos can hit a target 290 km away with precision, can travel 2.8 times the speed of sound across a wide range of trajectories depriving reaction time to the enemies, has nine times more destructive energy than the other cruise missiles and can be launched from the field, the sea and the air.

The Indian Army and the Navy have started deploying BrahMos and the Air Force is soon to get the improvised air version.

World over there is keen interest to procure them. Twenty Indian companies and seven Russian ones are involved in the production of its components.

Production

The production-cum-assembling unit now functioning in Hyderabad needs support. BrahMos Aerospace (Trivandrum) Limited will be the next production-cum-assembling unit.

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