In a first for both India and the World, an Indian Airforce Su 30 MKI fighter aircraft successfully test-fired the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile. BrahMos is one of the heaviest missiles in the world to be integrated on a frontline fighter jet and with today’s success, the IAF gets unprecedented firepower against the enemy.
Brahmos missile is jointly developed by Russia and India, originally as a supersonic anti-ship cruise missile. It is said to the world’s fastest anti-ship cruise missile. Over the years, land attack versions have been developed, of which an upcoming block 4 version which will have perpendicular steep dive capability, making it invaluable for taking out targets in mountains. With the launch of the air version, Brahmos is the only supersonic cruise missile to be launched from air, land, and sea making it an invaluable asset for India. A smaller version Brahmos-M is in the works, which will enable three missiles to be loaded on the Su 30 MKI. Further, a hypersonic Brahmos II version is being developed.
The Brahmos, for all its potency, suffered from a lack of range which was only 290 Km. However, with India becoming a part of MTCR, the range is being steadily expanded. A 450 KM version has already been tested and longer 800 Km version is being readied. The extended version has been tested today against a sea-based target. It is likely that all branches of the armed forces will get the longer ranged version, increasing its lethality and impact manifolds.
The Brahmos is a potent and versatile platform that can be launched at any type of target. With the planned increase in range and upcoming perpendicular steep dive capability, it can cover entire Pakistan including hardened nuclear bases. Moreover, it will be able to strike deep into Tibet damaging critical infrastructure, logistic lines and command and control centres. Also, there is a possibility that an air-launched ‘carrier-killer’ steep dive version may be developed which will help India easily blockade the Malacca Straits and maintain dominance in the Indian Ocean.