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Still in the development stage, the kind of unprecedented business interest the Sukhoi 30-BrahMos missile combo is generating among different countries has sparked off the possibility that it might turn into a huge money-spinner for both India and Russia from exports.
Business enquiries have started, particularly after June 25, when Indian scientists created history by flying the heavyweight missile BrahMos for 58 minutes (45 minutes in flight) with a state-of-the art Sukhoi-30 executing a perfect takeoff and smooth landing at HAL Nashik, that sparked imagination about the lethality of the integration and the huge force-multiplier implications.
“Irkut Corporation of Russia, that manufactures Sukhoi-30 fighters, has received immense business enquiries on the Sukhoi 30-BrahMos combo. A lot of countries have already expressed deep interest on purchase,” an official source told this newspaper on condition of anonymity.
Asked about the business agreement with Russia for the BrahMos missile, Sudhir Kumar Mishra, CEO & MD of BrahMos Aerospace, told this newspaper: “As it is a joint venture entity with a 50.5 per cent Indian share and 49.5 per cent Russian share, the proceeds will be divided accordingly between the two partners.”
On the next step, Mr Mishra said: “Now we plan to carry out a few more flights and drop tests with a dummy missile before firing an actual BrahMos air-to-ground missile from the Sukhoi. As of now, the actual test-firing of BrahMos is expected by October-November this year.”
Explaining the process, he said: “The missile, fitted in the Sukhoi-30 fuselage, will be released from the aircraft first. Once it drops clear of the aircraft, the missile’s booster engine will ignite, propelling the weapon to its target.”
Essentially a land-attack and anti-ship cruise missile system with stealth characteristics that was developed for multiple platforms, the BrahMos can fly at a speed 2.8 times faster than sound for a 290-km strike range with a 300-kg explosive payload.
It is the kinetic energy of the missile due to its very high speed along with the warhead that makes the BrahMos a deadly weapon. The missile’s high supersonic speed all through the flight, its low flight range with a variety of trajectories and its low radar signature enables it to straightaway bang on the target with pinpoint accuracy without being detected by enemy radar systems.
The demand for the BrahMos is quite high in the Indian armed forces too. “The Army has already operationalised three regiments. The Navy’s 10 frontline warships have deployed the missile. The Air Force has acquired the land-attack BrahMos. Now the Brahmos air version will power many Sukhoi fighters of the IAF,” an official said.
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