It was nearly sixteen years ago when India and Russia collaborated to develop the world’s only supersonic missile system under project BrahMos. In a very short span of time, the missile has already turned into a prominent spearhead of the Indian Defense Services and has impressed everyone with features like high-speed technology, greater kinetic impact and a longer range of attack. Therefore, let us explore some more interesting facts about the fastest supersonic missile – BrahMos. Here’s telling you things that every Indian should know and feel proud of.
The BrahMos missile has been developed under a joint venture by the India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyenia (NPOM) called BrahMos Aerospace. The missile acquires its name from River Brahmaputra in India and Moskva River of Russia. The pact was signed on February 12th 1998 where Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam represented the Indian delegation and N V Mikhailov for Russian Defense Ministry. According to the pact, India possesses 50.5% of the shares whereas the Russian government holds the remaining 49.5% shares.
After the pact signing in February 1998, the missile researches and projects went on for almost three years in special separate laboratories by DRDO and NPOM. The BrahMos missile made its first successful test fire at the Interim Test Range on the Chandipura coast in Orissa on June 12, 2001. In view of the fact that the test fire was a great success, the missile was tested on different platforms from December 2004 to March 2007. After the successful test fires, the missile was incorporated in Indian Army In July 2007 and created a speed record for the fastest supersonic missile during the September 2010 trial. No kidding! Further Reading: 7 Deadliest Missiles That Make India Proud
The first successful test launch of BrahMos in 2001 was done through a vertical launch configuration and was followed by a mobile launcher during the 2004 test at ITR. Moreover, the missile went for its first land attack version through INS Rajput on 5 March 2008 and a vertical launch from INS Ranvir on 18 December 2008. The initial test fires till 2007 were completed with block-I type BrahMos Missile but in January 2009 block-II had been developed and tested successfully. By the end of 2010, block-III version was test-fired from Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipura off the Orissa coast.
From its initial version of Block –I in 2001 BrahMos missiles have gone under rapid test fires and some ensuing changes. As a result the latest block – III has an advanced guidance feature with deep dive capability for surgical strikes from multiple platforms. Following these successful results, submarine-launched variant of Brahmo was first test fired on 20th march 2013 in Vishakhapatnam. The missile had an impressive launching depth of 60 meters, which done under the vertical missile launch from the submerged surface. Besides this, the BrahMos Aerospace is planning to deliver an air-launched variant of the missile with several modifications by the end of year 2015.
Primarily launched as an anti-ship missile, the latest BrahMos block-III has target coverage around a 360 degree horizon and can be launched from different platforms and positions. Basically, the missile is a two stage supersonic cruise missile with its first stage engine working with a solid propellant booster and the second stage engine producing energy from liquid-fueled ramjet. The missile has nine times more kinetic energy than the subsonic missiles and has shorter flight time with pin point accuracy. Similarly, the supersonic missile has low radar signature and is operational for multiple platforms.
BrahMos has a striking range of 290 km and travels at a speed of Mach 2.8 to 3.0, which makes the missile the fastest supersonic cruise missile in the world. Moreover, the missile has a short flight time, non-interception features and accurate target attack with lower dispersion. With a conventional semi armor and nuclear weight of 200- 300 kg, the missile weighs 3000 kg on land and around 2500 kg when air launched. The missile has a total length of 8.4 m and diameter of 0.6 m and can hit the target from a minimum altitude of 10 meters.