The Indian Air Force (IAF) has successfully test-fired the Brahmos air-launched cruise missile (ALCM) for the first time.
As part of the drill, the IAF fired the world’s fastest supersonic cruise missile against a sea-based target in the Bay of Bengal from the airforce’s frontline fighter aircraft Sukhoi-30MKI.
Brahmos was gravity dropped from the fuselage of the fighter jet, following which the engine of the two-stage missile fired up and directly propelled towards the intended target at sea.
As its first stage, the two-stage weapon has a solid propellant booster engine to bring the missile to a supersonic speed before getting separated.
The second stage or the liquid ramjet takes the weapon closer to Mach 3 speed in cruise phase.
Weighing 2.5t, the Brahmos ALCM is the heaviest weapon to be integrated on the IAF’s Su-30 fighter jet. The missile has a flight range of up to 290km.
The maiden flight test of the Brahmos cruise missile from Su-30MKI will significantly help strengthen the IAF’s air combat operations capability from stand-off ranges.
The aircraft was developed by Russian company Sukhoi and modified by India-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to carry the weapon.
With a multi-platform, multi-mission role, the cruise missile is currently capable of being launched from land, sea and air, completing the tactical cruise missile triad for India.
The weapon manufacturer, Brahmos Aerospace is a joint venture (JV) between Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) of India and NPO Mashinostroyenia (NPOM) of Russia.
Brahmos ALCM offers enhanced velocity, flight range, seeker range and kinetic energy when compared with the existing subsonic cruise missiles.