Strike power

The successful test-firing of an advanced BrahMos missile from Chandipur in Orissa is no surprise because the missile has proved to be perhaps the most reliable of all defence equipment developed in India. It is a versatile missile which has seen many versions — land to land, land to ship, ship to ship, etc — and some new versions are being planned. It was a very advanced version of the supersonic missile that was tried on Sunday. In March defence scientists and engineers had achieved a remarkable feat by launching the missile vertically from a moving ship. This was technologically very challenging, and maintaining the speed and hitting the target with precision was equally difficult. A vertically launched missile has many advantages like greater range and flexibility and the need for less storage space. The ship-based missiles have already been inducted into Indian naval vessels and have given more strike power to the navy. They are deployed by the army too.

The air-launched version of the missile may have to wait for two more years but so far the missile has not failed any expectation. It is a result of collaboration between India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyenia. The first missile was launched in 2001 and since then it has always maintained its remarkable record of success. The missiles can carry conventional warheads of up to 300 kg, have a range of about 290 km and move at three times the speed of sound.  It is the fastest cruise missile and is technologically superior to all others of its kind. Its versatility and precision have made it an important tactical weapon for India’s defence forces. The missile is very cost-effective and requires only very little reaction time. It is also a symbol of the co-operation between India and Russia in defence  matters. The name of the missile is an abbreviation of the names of the rivers Brahmaputra and Moscow, to demonstrate the co-operation. A later version of the missile may be inducted into the Russian military also.

Though the production of the missile will be primarily scheduled to meet India’s defence requirements, it has evoked interest among other countries. It has been reported that there are export orders worth $13 billion for the missile and India and Russia have taken a decision to export the missile to friendly countries after meeting their own requirements. This will mean impressive business also.

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