With Brahmos missile Integration into Indian Air Force (IAF) SU-30MKI ‘Complete,’ following the third test launch last week, the IAF may begin equipping more such aircraft with the heavy supersonic cruise missile.
The December 17 test launch of the BrahMos-A missile in user configuration took place off the coast of Odisha. According to an MoD statement, “It was the third live launch of the weapon and with this launch, the integration of the missile on Su-30MKI aircraft, is complete.”
While the intial plan was to equip 40 Su-30MKI Jets, it is not yet known how many will undergo the structural and other changes needed to fit the heavy missile to the underbelly of the Su-30MKI.
India has plans to order some 18 additional Su-30MKI jets and according to some reports, negotiations have been going between Indian and Russian officials. However if more than twice that number are to be committed to carry the Brahmos missile, then more such aircraft will be needed.
The Brahmos missile with a range of 300-400 km will enable the IAF to attack targets from a standoff distance. In situations like the Balakot strike inside Pakistan, a Brahmos equipped Su-30MKI would have made it possible to execute the attack outside the reach of Pakistani jets.
During the third test, an air-launched BrahMos-A missile was fired from a Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter aircraft against a sea target which was destroyed with pin-point accuracy. The MoD statement said, “most of the components were indigenous, including the missile airframe, fuel management system and DRDO designed seeker.”
The statement added “During the test, the missile was gravity dropped from the air combat platform’s fuselage and the two-stage weapon’s engine fired up and the missile straightaway propelled towards the intended target positioned at the sea, piercing it with pin point accuracy.”