India is all set to arm six of its mainline warships with the indigenous BrahMos supersonic cruise missile suite to augment its land attack capability from the sea.
The Indian Navy is bringing an estimated Rs.3,000-plus crore (nearly $500 million) proposal for retrofitting its three Delhi-class Destroyers and three Talwar-class Frigates with the BrahMos missiles to the Defense Acquisition Council (DAC), sources in the Indian Defense Ministry told Arming India on May 12. 2015.
The DAC, chaired by Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar with the armed forces chiefs and the secretaries of departments in the ministry as members, will meet on May 13.
The Destroyers that would get the missiles are INS Delhi, Mysore and Mumbai that were commissioned in 1997, 1999 and 2001 respectively. The Frigates are INS Talwar, Trishul and Tabar, commissioned in 2003-04.
However, the follow-on Destroyers of the Delhi-class, beginning with the already-delivered INS Kolkata under Project 15-A built by Mumbai-based Mazagon Docks Limited, have in-built BrahMos weapon system on board.
The follow-on Talwar-class frigates INS Teg, Tarkash and Trikand -- all Krivak-III class warships built in Russia -- too come with BrahMos missiles already fitted as part of its weapon suite.
Last Week's Successful Tests From Car Nicobar Island
India had last week successfully tested its BrahMos supersonic cruise missile on two successive days to validate the land-attack weapon system's capability to hit targets hidden behind mountain ranges in the steep-dive mode. The two tests were carried out on May 8 and 9, 2015, from Car Nicobar in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands on India's East that provide a wider strategic reach.
Only a month ago, a similar test had gone awry, resulting in the Indian Army withdrawing a statement it issued on April 9, 2015 claiming success.
This time, however, BrahMos Aerospace achieved success in two successive tests of a land-attack version of the supersonic cruise missile. With these two successful tests, the Indian Army has operationalised the third regiment of the weapon system. At present, BrahMos Aerospace has an order for the missiles from the Indian armed forces worth Rs.26,776 crore ($4.2 billion).
On May 8, 2015, an advanced version of BrahMos land-attack cruise missile was successfully test fired from the Car Nicobar Island, revalidating the formidable weapon's precision strike capability, according to a statement from the India-Russia joint venture. The missile followed a predetermined trajectory and successfully hit the designated target on Trak Island at an extended range.
The land-to-land configuration of Block-III version, with steep dive capability, was test launched from a Mobile Autonomous Launcher (MAL) for its full-range of 290 kilometers, meeting all flight parameters, including high level maneuvers.
The supersonic cruise missile, fire-tested by the Indian Army, successfully hit the designated land-based target with desired accuracy, BrahMos Aerospace Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Dr.Sudhir K. Mishra said.
"The test has once again established our missile as an incredibly lethal weapon with pin-point accuracy to take on enemy targets anywhere," Mishra said.
On May 9, 2015, an advanced version of BrahMos land-attack cruise missile was successfully test fired for the second time in the eastern sector, stamping the impeccable accuracy.
Meeting all flight parameters, including high level maneuvers, the supersonic cruise missile successfully hit the designated land-based target with desired accuracy. It was the 48th test-firing of BrahMos, with the missile achieving unmatched precise hit, practically hitting at the same spot as the missile test the previous day, a feat seldom achieved by any weapon system in the world of this range.
"BrahMos has once again flawlessly demonstrated its capability in the Eastern sector. This launch is definitely a huge morale booster for our armed forces, who are its proud possessors," he added.
The land-attack BrahMos missiles, in Block-I and Block-II versions, have been operationalised in two regiments of the Indian Army progressively since 2007. The fire-and-forget cruise missile has the capability to take on surface-based targets by flying a combined hi-lo trajectory, thus evading enemy air defense systems. The missiles were developed to hit a specific small target with a low radar cross-section in a cluttered environment.
Inclusion of the powerful strike missile in Indian Army has given it a distinct tactical advantage to knock down any enemy target even in the most difficult and hidden terrains, the BrahMos statement said.
Interestingly, a similar test that was done on April 9, 2015, from the same location had failed and had gone awry. The Indian Army had issued a statement that day claiming success of the test, but was withdrawn within a few hours after the test did not turn out the way they and the company had hoped for.
Developed by BrahMos Aerospace as a joint venture between DRDO and NPO Mashinostroeyenia of Russia, the 8.4 meter long missile can fly at 2.8 times the speed of sound and is capable of carrying conventional warheads of up to 300 kilogram for a range of 290 km.
Featuring a very low radar signature, the multi-mission missile, having a range of 290 km and flying at a speed of Mach 2.8, can be launched from land, ship, submarines and air platforms against sea and land targets. BrahMos Aerospace is currently working to develop the submarine launched, air launched and hyper-sonic version of the missile. The air version BrahMos is being readied for flight trial from the Indian Air Force's Su-30MKI strike fighter very soon.