The Indian Armed Forces on Wednesday attained the supersonic cruise missile triad with the successful test launch of the BrahMos missile from an Indian Air Force Sukhoi Su-30 MKI frontline fighter aircraft. This multi-platform, multi-mission weapon that can be launched from land, water and air.
Here is all you need to know about the missile:
Where does BrahMos missile derives its name from?
The missile has been named after two rivers– the Brahmaputra and the Moskva. The latter is a river in western Russia.
What kind of a missile is BrahMos?
BrahMos is a supersonic cruise missile developed in a joint-venture between India and Russia. It is a self-propelled guided missile that sustains flight through aerodynamic lift. Cruise missiles fly within the earth’s atmosphere and use a variety of propulsion methods.
How fast does the BrahMos fly?
The BrahMos is a two-stage missile. A solid fuel propellant booster engine pushes the missile to supersonic speeds and separates. Then the second stage kicks in where a liquid fuel ramjet engine takes it to speeds up to mach 3 (three times the speed of sound) when it covers nearly 1-km distance in a second. It is the fastest known versatile supersonic cruise missile.
How effective is BrahMos?
The developers say the BrahMos has a strike accuracy rate of 99.99 per cent. Also, it follows a variety of trajectories like high, high-low, low, surface-skim etc. Unlike ballistic missiles that follow ellipsoidal trajectories and are powered only through part of the journey, ballistic missiles are powered till the time it hits the target and kinetic energy is a big factor in its destructive capacity. The unpredictable nature of the trajectory it takes is also what makes it more difficult to defend against.
Who has developed the missile?
The missiles are developed and manufactured by BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited that is a joint venture between the India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Russia’s Reutov-based rocket and missile developers NPO Mashinostroyeniya (NPOM).
Will the missile be developed further?
Newer versions of the missile are being developed right now. BrahMos Aerospace is in the process of trying to come up with the next line of BrahMos missiles that could reach targets up to 800 km away. The new versions are also being developed with scramjet engines that will help propel the missile to hypersonic speeds of up to mach 6 (six times the speed of sound).
The kinetic energy impact of such an upgrade will be huge. For instance, the destruction caused by the missile due to kinetic energy at mach 6 will be 36 times than the destruction caused if the missile hit the target at mach 1.
Submarine-launched versions as well as miniature versions of the missile are also in the pipeline.
Where is the BrahMos missile made in India?
The BrahMos headquarters is located in New Delhi where it houses the design centre, simulation and interface development department, application software development and aerospace knowledge centre (also at Hyderabad). A facility in Thiruvananthapuram manufactures components for BrahMos as well as ISRO and DRDO.
BrahMos Aerospace also has a world-class production facility called the BrahMos Integration Complex of BrahMos Aerospace. This centre is where the actual missile takes shape. All the components and subsystems that are manufactured across India and Russia are sent to the BIC and then assembled into the final product.
How much of the missile is Indian-made?
In March 2016, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said in a written reply to Parliament that 65 per cent of the missile components were imported. Out of the major components provided by Russia, the main are the booster, the ramjet engine, target seeker, homing device and the canister that stows the missile.
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