The Indian Ministry of Defense’s (MoD) research arm, the Defense Research Development Organization (DRDO), has test fired an anti-ship variant of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Chandipur along the coast of Odisha on June 4, according to media reports.
The missile was reportedly launched around noon local time from the launch-complex-3 of the ITR. DRDO sources did not provide additional information on the recent test firing.
In late May, an Indian Army unit of the service’s Eastern Command last test launched a BrahMos surface-to-surface variant from Car Nicobar Island, the northernmost of the Nicobar Islands.
The BrahMos is a derivative of the Russian-made P-800 Oniks over-the-horizon supersonic anti-ship cruise missile with a range estimated at between 300 to 400 kilometers. It is thought to be one of the world’s fastest cruise missiles currently in operational use.
“India over the last few years has incrementally attempted to indigenize various components and subsystems of the BrahMos missile, including a new seeker and missile booster. An indigenous seeker and booster were both tested in 2018,” I noted previously. “Russia continues to supply the BrahMos’ ramjet propulsion system and seeker technology, while India provides the inertial navigation system and fire control system.”
The land-launched and sea-launched variants of the BrahMos are already in service with the Indian Army and Navy respectively. An air-launched variant is expected to become operational by the end of 2019 with the Indian Air Force. I explained last month:
An air-launched variant of the BrahMos is expected to become operational this year. Notably, the Indian Air Force (IAF) test fired an air-launched BrahMos-A supersonic cruise missile from a Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter on May 22. The missile was first flight tested from a Sukhhoi Su-30 in November 2017 over the Bay of Bengal.
Two IAF Su-30 MKI fighters have been converted to carry the air-launched variant of the BrahMos. A total of 40 Su-30 MKIs are expected to be retrofitted to carry the 2.5-ton supersonic air-to-surface cruise missile. Next to others, upgrades to the aircraft will include reinforcing the Su-30MKIs undercarriage and hardening its electronic circuitry.
To speed up mass production of the BrahMos, Indian defense firm and the missile’s manufacturer Larsen & Toubro inaugurated a new production line for BrahMos transport launch canisters in Vadodara in the western state of Gujarat.
DRDO has also been working on an extended range variant of the BrahMos. In March 2017, a BrahMos-ER missile was for the first time test fired. The new version of the missile is purportedly capable of hitting targets at distances of up to 800 kilometers.