Attaining a 'major milestone', BrahMos, India's and arguably the world's fastest supersonic cruise missile, demonstrated that it could extend its capability to hit targets from 290km up to 450km. The missile did not have to undergo major modifications to acquire this capability, sources informed.
At 11:30 am on Saturday, the Indo-Russian venture test-fired the extended range version termed BrahMos Extended Range from the Integrated Test Range Chandipur at the coast of Odisha, BrahMos Aerospace. Fired from a Mobile Autonomous Launcher (MAL) - a land attack version - the 'text book launch' achieved '100 per cent results', said a release.
What will make matters worse for India's adversaries is this - BrahMos Aerospace will work retrospectively to extend the range of all the missile systems already in service with the Indian Army and Indian Navy from 290km to 450km. Newer supplies, it was revealed, will be provided in the extended configuration only.
"In terms of accuracy, the missile fared very well. We fired much more accurately than what a rifle would fire at a distance of 400m. Our accuracy count was 99.943 per cent," declared Dr Sudhir Mishra Chief Executive Officer, BrahMos Aerospace. "This is a historical occasion as it comes after India joined the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) last year," he added.
A Ministry of Defence (MoD) official familiar with the programme said no more tests would be required. The new missile would directly enter the production process. "Today's test comes after validation in the laboratory. We don't need any more validation," he said.
Explaining the modifications, the official said, "Changes in the missile for it to achieve this range pertained to software and internal dynamics which were always doable but we held ourselves back as earlier we were not a part of MTCR and could not go beyond 290km. Now the cap has been removed."
During the recently concluded AERO INDIA 2017, the Chairman of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Dr S Christopher had set March 10 as the deadline for this test which ultimately happened a day later.
The BrahMos flies at 2.8 times the speed of sound to cover a kilometer every second. Originally designed as an anti-ship missile for the Navy, based on the Army's request, it was modified to perform land attack role as well.
Before the team BrahMos now lies the challenge of extending the BrahMos speed to 800km - a task which will take about two and a half years. In addition, the team is also gearing up for an air-launched version, the test which is likely to take place later this month. Going ahead, miniaturisation of the missile for it to be launched from submarines and fighter jets will be carried out as well.
BrahMos is an 8.4m long, two-stage missile which can carry a 300kg conventional warhead. It emerged out of an inter-governmental agreement signed in 1998 between India and Russia.