The Indian Air Force has selected Sukhoi-30 fighter jets as a platform to mount the supersonic BrahMos missiles, with the first launch to be carried out by end of 2014, an Indian official was quoted as saying by The Times Of India.
"We have chosen Sukhoi-30. That is a deep penetration aircraft which is being produced at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited's Nashik facility in collaboration with the Russians," BrahMos Aerospace managing director and chief executive AS Pillai was quoted as saying.
He said an air version of the BrahMos missile is ready, but testing, simulations and aircraft modifications will take a year more and the final flight with the missile will happen only by the end of 2014.
Under a contract, BrahMos Aerospace has to deliver the supersonic cruise missile to the IAF starting 2015 and Pillai said flight trials will take place next year and deliveries to IAF are slated to begin in 2015. The air force version will be lighter than its sea and ground variants and the planes will require upgrades.
Pillai said the IAF asked for the weight of the missile to be reduced to 2.5 tonne from the general 3 tonne as the launch at high speeds requires lesser components on propulsion, and his company has been able to do it.
The BrahMos was jointly developed in the early 2000s and has since been inducted by the Army and the Navy. An air platform, has however, not been completed yet.
Pillai claimed it is the only supersonic cruise missile platform in the world which travels at supersonic speeds and can be launched from both sea and land.
Asked about the failure of the company to convince the Russian armed forces to induct the missile system even after a decade of its launch, Pillai said the company will take up the matter with the Russians for induction.
"We are making all out effort for this. As per the inter-governmental agreement, India and Russia both have to induct the JV product and also, we can sell to some friendly countries ... we are telling the Russian government it is time they inducted it," Pillai said.
He said recently Indian engineers fitted the missile system on a Talwar class frigate being built at a Russian shipyard, and added Russia can also emulate it.