India became the first country to test fire a supersonic cruise missile from an aircraft, with the test firing of the air-launched version of the BrahMos cruise missile on Tuesday.
The BrahMos-A was successfully flight-tested from an modified Indian Air Force Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter jet against a sea based target in the Bay of Bengal.
The missile carried on a centerline fuselage pylon, was gravity dropped from the Su-30, and the two stage missile’s engine fired up and straightway propelled towards the intended target at the sea in Bay of Bengal.
The successful maiden test firing of Brahmos Air Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM) from Su-30MKI will significantly bolster the IAF’s air combat operations capability from stand-off ranges.
Brahmos ALCM weighing 2.5 ton is the heaviest weapon to be carried by the Su-30 MKI, and the aircraft wings and fuselage has been strengthened by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd to carry the weapon.
With a range of 290 km, the BrahMos can carry out precision strikes against ground targets within seconds, as speed can reach close to Mach 3.
This will enable IAF Su-30MKIs to strike precisely from standoff distances, high-value strategic infrastructure and terrorist camps etc.
The test complete the tactical cruise missile triad for India, with the Brahmos now having the air, naval(both submarine and ship) and land based versions developed.
The land attack and ship borne versions are already operational with Indian Army and Indian Navy.
Compared to its land/naval variants, the air launched missile have reduced weight and is shortened to 8 m and have additional fins for stabilization during horizontal flight.
Brahmos was developed as a joint venture between DRDO of India and NPOM of Russia, based on the Russian P-700 Onik supersonic missile.
Captive flight trials commenced in June 2016. Two Su-30 MKI fighters has been modified to carry out the flight trials.
Indian Air Force plans to modify 40 of its eventual fleet of 272 Su-30 MKIs to carry the BrahMos ALCM.