Report: India to Test Fire Air-Launched BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile This Week
The BrahMos missile is likely to be test launched from an Indian Air Force Su-30MKI aircraft this week.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) is expected to test fire the air-launched BrahMos-A supersonic cruiseÂ missile from a Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jet in the coming days, according to local media reports. â€śA test of the missile is planned for the next week in the southern part of the country to prove its integration with the heavyweight Su-30 fighter,â€ť IAF sources were quoted as saying on April 27 by The Times of India.
In February an Indian defense industry official confirmed that the BrahMos-A cruise missile will kick off its final developmental or certification trials in the third quarter of 2019, which will include two certified launches against a naval and a ground target. Following the successful completion of the two test launches, the cruise missile will be inducted into the IAF.
The BrahMos-A was first flight tested from a Sukhhoi Su-30 MKI fighter jet in July 2018 over the Bay of Bengal. As I reported earlier this year:
To date, two IAF Su-30 MKI fighters have been converted to launch the 2.5-ton supersonic air-to-surface cruise missile. The first time a Su-30 MKI took to the skies carrying a BrahMos-A occurred in 2016. As a result of the size and weight of the BrahMos-A, each Su-30 MKI can reportedly only carry one missile in a transport launch canister.
Overall, the IAF plans to stand up two Su-30 MKI squadrons armed with the new weapon system. As IÂ reportedÂ previously, the IAF is purportedly already working on integrating the BrahMos-A on 40 Su-30 MKI fighters. Part of that integration process includes reinforcing the aircraftâ€™s undercarriage and reportedly also hardened electronic circuitry to withstand the electromagnetic pulses of a nuclear blast â€” the missile is allegedly dual-capable and can carry a nuclear warhead, although there are no official plans by the Indian MoD to do so.
The twin-seater, twin-engine Su-30MKI, developed by Russian aircraft maker Sukhoi and license-built in India, constitutes the backbone of the IAF.
The BrahMos-A has an estimated operational range of around 400 kilometers and can dropped from 500 to 14,000 meters (1,640 to 46,000Â feet). The missile â€“ named after the Brahmaputra River in India and the Moskva River in Russia â€“ is a derivative of the Russian-made P-800 Oniks over-the-horizon supersonic anti-ship cruise missile and thought to be one of the fastest cruise missiles currently operationally deployed.
The land-launched and sea-launched variants of the BrahMos are already in service with the Indian Army and Navy. The IAF expects to induct the first BrahMos-A by 2020. The service is reportedly interested in procuring up to 200 missiles. As I reported last year, India is steadily indigenizing various components and subsystems of the BrahMos and has been testing an indigenous seeker and missile booster in 2018.