Land-attack Version of BrahMos Missile | 25 Nov 2020

Why in News

Recently, India has successfully test-fired a land-attack version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

  • The test by the Army comes over a month after the Naval version of BrahMos was successfully test fired from Indian Navy’s indigenously-built stealth destroyer INS Chennai.

Key Points

  • Features of New Land-attack Version:
    • The range of the missile has been extended to 400 km from the original 290 km but its speed has been maintained at 2.8 Mach or almost three times the speed of sound.
    • The test was done in a “top-attack” configuration.
      • Most modern missiles, including BrahMos, can be fired in both top-attack and direct attack modes.
      • In top attack mode, the missile is required to climb sharply after launch, travel at a certain altitude and then fall on top of the target.
      • In direct attack mode, the missile travels at a lower altitude, directly striking the target.
  • Significance of the Test:
    • These tests are a display of India’s tactical cruise missile triad, i.e. launch capability from land, sea and air platforms.
      • India has already deployed a sizable number of the original BrahMos missiles and other key assets in several strategic locations along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh.
    • The test marks the achievement of a critical milestone in enhancing India’s capability of engaging enemy’s vitally important targets in depth areas.
    • In the last two-and-half months, India has test fired a number of missiles including an anti-radiation missile named Rudram-1 which is planned to be inducted into service by 2022.
  • BrahMos Missile:
    • An amalgamation of the names of Brahmaputra river and Moskva river (Russia), BrahMos missiles are designed, developed and produced by BrahMos Aerospace.
    • It is a medium-range supersonic cruise missile which can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft or land.
      • Cruise missiles are defined as “an unmanned self-propelled guided vehicle that sustains flight through aerodynamic lift for most of its flight path and whose primary mission is to place an ordnance or special payload on a target.”
      • Depending upon the speed, such missiles are classified as Subsonic (around 0.8 Mach), Supersonic (2-3 Mach) and Hypersonic cruise missiles (more than 5 Mach).
    • It is the world’s fastest supersonic cruise missile, as well as the fastest anti-ship cruise missile in operation.
    • It operates on the "Fire and Forget" principle, i.e it does not require further guidance after launch.
    • The missile has a flight range upto 290-km. However, India's entry into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) has extended the range of the BrahMos missile to reach 450-600 km.
    • Various versions of BrahMos, including those that can be fired from land, warships, submarines and Sukhoi-30 fighter jets, have already been developed and successfully tested in the past.
      • A hypersonic version of the missile, capable of reaching a speed of 5 Mach, is under development.

Source: IE