The first test of the BrahMos Missile fired from the underbelly of the Su-30MKI fighter jet is likely to take place this December.
A decommissioned Indian Navy warship is expected to the target for the super-sonic cruise missile traveling at almost three times the speed of sound, various Indian media reported quoting unnamed sources.
Indian and Russian scientists are now said to be tweaking the range of the missile beyond 300km following India’s entry into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). The extended range will put the BrahMos-laden Su-30MKI beyond the radar of fighter-bombers and cruise-missile equipped long range patrol aircraft.
A source familiar with the development told defenseworld.net that a range of 300-600 km is theoretically possible. However, a longer range means that the missile will be carrying a higher propellant load meaning a weight penalty for the aircraft. Its guidance and navigation system will also have to be suitably boosted.
Boosting the range much beyond 290 km might take out the element of surprise. As a tactical weapon the air-launched BrahMos affords very little reaction time to the enemy. A range of 600 km will probably give it some time to move vital assets away or even develop an anti-missile system to take out the BrahMos in the air.
The December test plan follows the successful integration and drop test of a BrahMos missile from a modified Su-30MKI at HAL, Nashik on June 25.
Reports from the recently concluded BRICS summit in Goa quoted President Vladimir Putin on plans to increase the range of the 290-km Indo-Russian BrahMos missile.