BrahMos Missile: Army successfully test fires Block-III version
The Indian Army carried out a second successful test of the BrahMos Block-III Land Attack Cruise Missile (LACM) in two days in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The range of the supersonic cruise missile has been extended to 450 km from the earlier 290km. The Army's South Western Command-Based 1 Strike Corps carried the test, perfecting the long-range precision capability of the BrahMos's advanced version.
Indo-Russian joint venture under a 1998 agreement
The BrahMos is a ramjet supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from ships, submarine, aircraft, or land. It is a joint venture between India's Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Russia's NPO Mashinostrieyenia. It is developed under an agreement signed by India and Russia in 1998. The missile with advanced capabilities was named after India's Brahmaputra River and Russia's Moskva River.
Can fly at three times the speed of sound
The nine-meter long BrahMos missile weighing around 3000kg can fly at nearly three times the speed of sound at Mach 2.8-3.0 and also carry warheads weighing up to 300kg. The land-based BrahMos version is equipped with an inertial navigation system and global positioning system.
Indian Army, first in the world to have BrahMos regiment
The Indian Army inducted the first BrahMos regiment in 2007 comprising 67 missiles, five mobile autonomous launchers, and two mobile command posts among other equipments. Since then, three BrahMos regiments have been inducted with the fourth being on the way. The Navy equipped ten warships with the missile that has become the standard offensive weapon. The air and submarine launch versions are being tested.
Next variants of BrahMos under development
A new generation of BrahMos with 600km-plus range is under development; the upgrade would be applied to existing missiles too. BrahMos-II, a hypersonic version, with speed Mach 6-7 and range 300km, was reportedly tested last year in Russia. BrahMos's mini version 'BrahMos-NG' is under progress; with the same range and speed Mach 3.5, it will be 50% lighter and shorter, allowing greater payload capacity.
Block-III to be deployed in Arunachal Pradesh
This is the fifth consecutive successful launch of BrahMos Block-III; it hit the land-based target in 'top-attack' mode, a feat achieved by no other weapon of its genre. The tests were conducted in full operational land-to-land configuration from mobile autonomous launchers. The government approved the deployment of BrahMos Block-III in Arunachal Pradesh to counter China's military infrastructure along the 4,057-km Line of Actual Control.
Caps on BrahMos range removed last year
The Block-III version has "steep dive, trajectory maneuver, and top-attack capabilities." The upgrade to the extended range BrahMos comes after India's entry into Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in Jun'16. After India joined the 34-nation MTCR, the caps on the range of BrahMos missile developed jointly with Russia were removed. MTCR prevents the proliferation of missiles and UAVs beyond 300-km range.
Previous Block-III test fires
The first test of the extended range BrahMos was conducted off Odisha coast on 11 March. The Navy successfully test-fired the missile from warship Teg from the Bay of Bengal on 21 April, joining other Navies that can strike targets on land from the sea.