Submarine variant of BrahMos test-fired

PROUD MOMENT:The BrahMos supersonic cruise missile being launched from an underwater pontoon off Visakhapatnam on Wednesday. —Photo: Special arrangement  

The maiden flight of the submarine variant of the Indo-Russian supersonic cruise missile, BrahMos, was successful on Wednesday when it was test-fired from a pontoon off Visakhapatnam in the Bay of Bengal.

It marked a global first in the vertical launch of a supersonic cruise missile from an underwater platform.

The anti-ship version of the potent missile, with a range of 290 km, blasted off from the pontoon at 2.10 p.m. and hit an altitude of 14 km before cruising along a trajectory at Mach 3 to decimate the designated target as low as 12 metres over the sea. The flight lasted about 400 seconds.

All telemetry and tracking stations and naval vessels positioned along the flight path confirmed the accuracy of the mission. Describing the launch as a ‘milestone,’ chief executive officer of BrahMos Aerospace A. Sivathanu Pillai said the mission’s objective was to demonstrate the vertical launch of the missile from underwater. “The capability has been proven and the missile is ready for fitment on the Navy’s future submarines under Project 75-I,” Mr. Pillai told The Hindu .

He said BrahMos in vertical launch mode would add teeth to submarines as it wouldn’t compromise on their defensive capability. “This will make submarines doubly potent and most lethal,” he added.

Commending BrahMos scientists from India and Russia and Indian Navy officials on the feat, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said it was a “wonderful achievement and a proud moment for India.”

According to V.K. Saraswat, Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister and Director General of DRDO, the test-firing was another landmark technological breakthrough and a significant step towards boosting India’s military might.

BrahMos has already been inducted into the Navy and the Army, while its air version is under development for arming the Su-30 MKI fighter. The naval variant of the missile comes in vertical and inclined launch configurations.