BrahMos, the world’s fastest supersonic cruise missile, has been successfully tested for the first time from a Sukhoi-30MKI fighter of the Indian Air Force (IAF). The success means the Air Force will now have the ability to strike hostile warships hundreds of kilometres off the coast in just minutes once ordered. The missile is expected to have a range close to 300 km. A compact version of the missile was gravity-dropped from a Sukhoi-30 fighter. On being released from the fuselage of the jet, the missile’s engine fired up, propelling it towards its target in the Bay of Bengal.
Here are 10 facts about the launch of the missile:
1. The Indian Navy and Army already operate different variants of the missile, which can strike targets up to 500 km away. So far, the missile has been deployed on Navy warships and with Army units which operate the ground attack version of the supersonic weapon.
2. The Indian Air Force variant test-fired today has significant differences. Unlike the Navy and Army version which are significantly larger in size and weigh three tonnes, the IAF version tested weighs 2.5 tonnes and has been adapted specifically for the Su-30 MKI fighter.
3. Given the still considerable weight of the missile, the Su-30 can carry only missile one per mission.For the armed forces, the availability of this missile adds a new dimension to their firepower.
4. The software development of the aircraft was undertaken by IAF engineers while HAL carried out mechanical and electrical modifications on the aircraft. Aligning the navigation sensors of the missile was done by DRDO. According to the IAF, “The integration on the aircraft was very complex involving mechanical, electrical and software modifications on aircraft.”
5. A BrahMos armed Su-30 can fly 1,500 km in the direction of a hostile target out at sea.
6. Using a special targeting mode in its radar, the Su-30 can lock onto an enemy warship and launch the BrahMos from long ranges, before it can be countered by surface-to-air missiles fired from the warship.
7. Post-launch, the Su-30 would fly away while the air-launched BrahMos uses its own seeker to home in on the target.
8. Given its speed of Mach 2.8 (2.8 times the speed of sound), the BrahMos is extremely difficult to presently intercept by surface to air missiles deployed on leading warships around the world.
9. In simple terms, the combination of the Su-30 and BrahMos means that the Indian Air Force can deliver a knock-out punch in minutes if ordered, far quicker than a warship which may need to sail in the direction of a target out at sea.
10. The BrahMos missile is a joint Indo-Russian venture named after the rivers Moscow and Brahmaputra.
SOURCE : NDTV