The Indian Army test-fired an advanced version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile system on Monday.
According to The Hindu’s Business Line, a “block-III variant of BrahMos with deep penetration capability was test launched from a Mobile Autonomous Launcher.” The test was reportedly successful.
It specifically focused on the missile’s deep penetration capability and took place in Pokhran, Rajasthan. According to an official “The launch has successfully validated the deep penetration capability of the supersonic cruise missile system against hardened targets.” The tested missile was able to successfully follow a predetermined trajectory, and hit a hardened concrete target with perfect accuracy given its supersonic velocity.
The BrahMos is currently the fastest cruise missile in production capable of delivering a conventional warhead, traveling at speeds of up to Mach 3.0. The missile is a joint effort between India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroeyenia (its domestic defense research agency).
Times of India reports that the Indian Army has incorporated two regiments of the missile into its arsenal, with a third expected to be added soon. The Indian Navy has also inducted the missile, using it across several frigates and destroyers. The Indian Air Force will test an air-launched version of the missile shortly.
The Brahmos-II is currently under development and is expected to be the hypersonic successor to the original BrahMos. India’s former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has pushed for the development of an unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) variant of the upcoming hypersonic missile, saying that the “missile should be able to deliver its payload and return to base.”
In general, the surface-to-surface variants of the BrahMos have seen the most extensive testing. Its penetration capabilities had been impressively demonstrated in the past at sea when a single BrahMos cruise missile was able to effectively pierce the hull of a free-floating ship, destroying it entirely. That test, in 2010, rendered India the first country to have a maneuverable supersonic cruise missile. The deep penetration block-III variant expands this capability greatly, allowing the BrahMos to destroy reinforced targets.