The successful April 21 test-firing of the Indo-Russian BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from an Indian warship is significant for several reasons. Indian warships can now strike targets deep inland with breathtaking accuracy. They can, for instance, precisely hit parked aircraft, demolish individual buildings and, yes, even pass the proverbial cruise missile test: fly a missile through the goalposts of a football field.
The test from guided missile frigate INS Teg in the Bay of Bengal, which saw the missile hit its target on an island in the Nicobar chain, is significant for other reasons as well. It is the second test of the extended-range BrahMos after India signed the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) on June 27 last year. (The missile’s range was capped at 300 km for non-treaty signatories.) The range is now believed to be nearly 450 km. The missile has been inducted into the army and the navy. Deliveries for the air force will follow tests later this year. The navy also plans to retrofit it on existing warships.
In the past two years, the missile has crossed several milestones—a sharp dive capability test last May and the two tests post-MTCR. Coming up this year are tests of a sleeker air-launched version fired from a modified Su-30MKI against targets on land and at sea. BrahMos Aerospace CEO and MD S.K. Mishra declined comment on these developments. However, Defence Research and Development Organisation chief S. Christopher told the media at the Aero India show earlier this year that an 800 km range BrahMos is in the works.
NEW HIGH The BrahMos test-fire on April 21