In October 2012, the Cabinet Committee had approved arming India’s most powerful fighter aircraft, the Sukhoi Su-30MKI, with nuclear-capable BrahMos. For this purpose 42 Sukhois are being upgraded with Russia’s help.
Delays notwithstanding (it was to be test fired by this November), the Indian Air Force is expected be testing the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from a modified Sukhoi fighter aircraft sometime next year.
IANS reports that a Sukhoi Su-30MKI – India’s principal combat aircraft – is being upgraded to make it able to carry and fire the BrahMos, which weighs around 3000 kgs. Of course, the aircraft version will be much lighter than the current naval or land versions.
The Sukhoi was the obvious choice for the test because of two reasons:
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To make the fighter capable of handling the electromagnetic pulse of a nuclear blast, the test Su-30MKI will be fitted with a robust mesh of electronic circuitry.
Even the missile to be test fired is undergoing some changes.
The BrahMos missile being test fired from the INS Kochi. The Indian Navy extensively uses the cruise missile. Express Photo
Equipping a Sukhoi with a BrahMos increases the target reach to 3300 kms, including the distance covered by a Sukhoi Su-30MKI in a single flight.
BrahMos was successfully tested from land by the Indian Army this November. It is already in use by the Indian Navy, with many ships equipped with the missile.