India on January 20 declared it has “maximised” the range of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile. The increase in the strike range of the missile was validated with a test-firing.
“The flight test is a major milestone in the way forward for BrahMos programme. The highly manoeuvreable missile cruised at supersonic speed for its maximum range and all mission objectives were met,” the Ministry of Defence stated.
While the Ministry of Defence did not specify the enhanced range of the BrahMos, sources privy to the development indicated that it is now “over 500 km”.
BrahMos was developed jointly by India and Russia at a time when India was not a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), which bars transfer of missile know-how to non-members for weapons with a range of over 300 km. The stated range of the BrahMos was 290 km, keeping it just under the MTCR threshold. But now, India is a member of the MTCR and the range restriction does not apply.
The Ministry of Defence stated that the range enhancement has been achieved by changing the missile’s trajectory, modifying its control system and increasing indigenous content.
“The missile was equipped with the advanced indigenous technologies and followed a modified optimal trajectory for enhanced efficiency and improved performance. The missile with the modified control system has been fine tuned to achieve an enhanced capability,” it was stated.
The test-firing was conducted by BrahMos Aerospace from the Integrated Test Range off the coast of Odisha on January 20. Representatives from NPOM, the Russian partner in the BrahMos joint venture, were also present at the test-firing.
Increased range gives the BrahMos better stand-off attack capability and makes it a more powerful weapon. It has already been inducted into the Army, Navy and the Indian Air Force.
“BrahMos Aerospace, the joint venture between DRDO and NPOM, Russia, has been continuously upgrading the powerful, highly versatile BrahMos to increase its effectiveness and lethality against sea and land targets,” it was stated.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Secretary Defence Research & Development Satheesh Reddy and BrahMos Director-General Atul Rane congratulated the joint teams of NPOM and DRDO involved in the test.