On Thursday, a new version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile was successfully test-fired by India off the coast of Odisha in Balasore, as per the official sources.
According to the officials, new technologies were equipped by the missile which was successfully proven. That said, earlier this month on 11th January, another Brahmos Supersonic Cruise missile was test-fired from the Indian Navy’s INS Visakhapatnam warship.
INS Visakhapatnam is the latest warship that has been inducted into the Indian Navy.
Officials have not divulged the new technologies used in the latest test. It is possible that the latest test was of Brahmos-NG. In 2021, an official of BrahMos Aerospace, Praveen Pathak, said that the company plans to finish testing the new rocket in the next 3-4 years. The developers expect that the upgraded missile can be placed on a variety of platforms.
The new generation of BrahMos has reduced weight and size characteristics. More compact dimensions will increase the ammunition load on the missile. The reduction in the weight and size characteristics of BrahMos is being achieved by a reduction in the size of the rocket, various components, and the installation of more advanced onboard electronic equipment.
As per RIA Novosti, Alexander Maksichev, co-director of BrahMos Aerospace from the Russian side, said that the maximum range of the new missile would reach 500 km. Currently, the figure is 400 km.
As per the officials, one BrahMos can sink almost any modern ship, and three or four missiles can sink an aircraft carrier. But the missile is large, heavy, and it is not always convenient to place it on small-tonnage ships.
Submarine launched Brahmos
Brahmos Aerospace is also ready with the submarine-launched version of the Brahmos missile for exports. The version is most suitable for equipping Amur-1650 non-nuclear submarines, which Moscow offers for export.
According to BrahMos Aerospace, the BrahMos underwater version of the missile has a configuration similar to a surface-based missile. The submarine version is placed in a modular launcher in a vertical position. The ammunition has a nose fairing that protects the air intake from water ingress. When the projectile leaves the water, the sensors send the command ‘out of the water’. Subsequently, the nose cone is ejected with the help of a microfuze, which turns the missile in the given direction of the target.
Back in 2013, Brahmos Aerospace had launched the missile from a submerged launcher at a depth of about 40–45 m. The test proved that the missile can be used from submarines and successfully perform missions.
BrahMos can be fired from submarines of various types, but non-nuclear submarines of the Amur-1650 project, which Moscow offers to its partners through military-technical cooperation (MTC), is the priority potential carrier. Amur-1650 developer is Rubin Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering (St. Petersburg).
Advantages of the missile
BrahMos has coined itself in the list of one of the world’s fastest cruise missiles.
In comparison to lighter subsonic cruise missiles like the Tomahawk, the high speed of the BrahMos likely gives it better target-penetration characteristics. Compared to the Tomahawk, BrahMos has 32 times the on-cruise kinetic energy than it while BrahMos is almost four times as fast as Tomahawk and twice as heavy. For a fact, BrahMos cannot be intercepted by existing missile defence systems due to the 2.8 Mach speed it bores while on the other hand, 8ts precision makes it lethal to water targets.
The Block III variant of the missile is also capable of engaging land-based targets. It can be launched either in a vertical or inclined position and is capable of covering targets over a 360-degree horizon.