The Indian Air Force will get 40 SU-30MKI strike fighters armed with a smaller version of BrahMos missiles, according to India TV.
BrahMos Aerospace officials said so at the international arms exhibition DSA-2014 in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
The company’s President Sivathanu Pillai is working to reduce the weight of the missile so that it could be integrated with different platforms, including the fifth-generation fighter India is creating together with Russia.
Pillai noted that the commissioning of the Vikramaditya aircraft carrier complete with deck-based MiG-29K/KUB jet fighters required accelerated work to arm them with a smaller version of the BrahMos missile so that the aircraft could take off from the carrier with two missiles under their wings.
While the fifth-generation jet fighter and MiG-29K/KUB aircraft can be armed with two BrahMos-M missiles, the Su-30MKI strike fighters can carry three such missiles. The latter aircraft will be modernized to take and fire the missiles, according to the report. The Indian Air Force has already made the relevant decision.
The report cited that the first ship-based version of the BrahMos missile could be fired in the fourth quarter of this year from a SU-30MKI jet fighter.
The missile will be 6 metres long and have a diameter of 0.5 metres. It will be able to travel at a speed 3.5 times the sound velocity and carry a charge of 200 to 300 kg over a maximum distance of up to 290 km.
The BrahMos missiles that have been tested up to date are two-stage cruise missiles 10 meters long and 0.7 metres in diameter. It has a flight range of up to 290 kilometres and is capable of carrying a conventional warhead of 300 kilograms. The missile can cruise at a maximum speed of 2.8 Mach.
In late May 2013, the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile was successfully test fired from the Indian Navy’s newest guided missile frigate INS Tarkash off the coast of Goa.
BrahMos cruise missiles have been adopted by India’s Army and the Navy’s surface ships. The Indian Air Force has also ordered a batch of land-based missiles. Work is also underway to adapt the missile to Su-30MKI planes used by the Indian Air Force.