40 more fighter jets to be armed with Brahmos by 2020

Last Updated : 17 December 2017, 16:17 IST

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Close on the heels of the first successful firing of Brahmos cruise missile from a Su-30MKI aircraft, the Indian Air Force has set up a target of arming 40 more fighter jets with the weapon in two-three years.

Equipping the first two combat jets with the supersonic missile took several years as the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) delivered the first aircraft on February 19, 2015 after a 12-month cycle and the second aircraft took another 10 months.

The IAF officials hope that since the HAL has gathered enough experience with the first two fighters, arming the rest by 2020 will not be a problem.

The work has begun to jerry-rig four more operational Su-30MKI because the remaining 36 aircraft would be the new jets that the HAL is contracted to deliver to the IAF.

India purchased 272 Su-30 MKI from Russia for the IAF, out of which 236 jets have been delivered to the IAF by the HAL. The public sector aviation major targets to complete the entire delivery by 2019-20.

Between 1996 and 2010, New Delhi and Moscow signed four agreements to purchase 272 Sukhoi in four batches. While the first 50 aircraft came from Russia, the rest were to be manufactured at the HAL.

Missile range

The Brahmos to be fitted on to the Su-30MKI will have a range of more than 400 km.

After India joined the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in 2016, the range of the Brahmos missile was upgraded to nearly 450 km from its earlier version of 290 km. The MTCR barred countries to transfer missiles of more than 300-km range to another nation.

Currently, nine naval warships - Kolkata class, Teg class and Ranvir class - are fitted with the 290-km version of Brahmos. Ditto for the army, which has two regiments of Brahmos.

But the second bunch of the naval warships - Delhi class, Talwar class and Shivalik class - will get the long-range Brahmos when they go for mid-life upgrade. The IAF will have only the longer-range missile.

Published 17 December 2017, 15:48 IST

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