BrahMos cruise missiles are emerging as an optimal option in modern warfare due to its tremendous destructive power, speed and precision.

BrahMos anti-ship cruise missile review on Dung Tran Military channel

BrahMos anti-ship missiles are integrated on the Su-30MKI

The Indian Ministry of Defense said the BrahMos missile has proven to be a weapon that can increase power in modern and complex combat environments, thanks to its excellent anti-ship and ground-attack capabilities.

On November 22, 2017, the Indian Air Force’s Sukhoi Su-30 MKI fighter successfully launched the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile for the first time. The plane, which took off from Kalaikunda Air Base in the state of Bengal in western India, attacked and quickly destroyed a target ship on the Bay of Bengal.

As a result of this test, India began speeding up the completion of a set of three tactical cruise missiles launched at sea, in the air and on land. By the end of 2019, the Indian Air Force announced that the integration of the BrahMos missile on Su-30MKI fighters was completed. This gives the Indian Air Force the ability to remotely engage any target at sea or on land with high accuracy, in all weather conditions, day and night.

In the context of increased border tension between India and China, the fact that BrahMos air-launched cruise missile is ready to operate is an interesting information.

BrahMos anti-ship missiles
BrahMos anti-ship missiles

Introduce

BrahMos is classified as a medium-range supersonic cruise missile. This is a product of the BrahMos Aerospace joint venture, a collaboration between the Russian Federation’s NPO Mashinostroyeniya and India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The name BrahMos is a combination of the names of two rivers in India and Russia – the Brahmaputra River (Brah) and the Moscow River (Mos).

The technology of the BrahMos missile is based primarily on the Russian P-800 Oniks cruise missile, and other similar sea-skimming Russian cruise missile technology. Russia supplies 65% of BrahMos accessories, including jet engines and radar seeker.

BrahMos is rated as one of the fastest anti-ship missiles in the world. With the successful integration of BrahMos on the Su-30MKI, basically, development for the launch platforms of this missile has been completed.

BrahMos specification

BrahMos was first tested in 2001. A standard version of BrahMos has a length of 8.4m (28 ft), a diameter of 0.6m (2.0 ft), a wingspan of 1.7m (5.5 ft) and a weight of 3 tons (6,600 lb). To integrate into the Su-30 MKI fighter jet, BrahMos has undergone many important improvements, including a reduction in weight to 2.5 tons (5,500 lb). The ship-launched and land-based missiles can carry a 200 kg (440 lb)  warhead, whereas the aircraft-launched variant can carry a 300 kg (660 lb) warhead.

What makes BrahMos unique is its speed. It uses a two-stage propulsion system. To accelerate during the launch phase, it uses a solid rocket booster. During supersonic cruise phase, a liquid-fuelled ramjet will be activated. Air-breathing ramjet propulsion is much more fuel-efficient than rocket propulsion, giving the BrahMos a longer range than a pure rocket-powered missile would achieve.

BrahMos anti-ship missiles

BrahMos can reach a maximum speed of Mach 2.8, with ranges from 290 to 500 km (180-310 mi). BrahMos Aerospace is developing an upgraded version with speeds up to Mach 7 or Mach 8, range up to more than 600km (372 mi).

India claims that BrahMos is capable of striking surface targets by flying at altitudes as low as five meters and the maximum altitude it can fly is 15,000 meters (49,000 ft).

Performance

Its tremendous speed means it cannot be intercepted by some existing missile defence systems and its precision makes it lethal to water targets. The high speed of the BrahMos likely gives it better target-penetration characteristics than lighter subsonic cruise-missiles, such as the Tomahawk. Being twice as heavy and almost four times as fast as the Tomahawk, the BrahMos has more than 32 times the on-cruise kinetic energy of a Tomahawk missile, although it carries only three fifths the payload and a fraction of the range.

The land, sea, and sub-sea versions of BrahMos are identical in configuration. It can be launched in vertical or inclined position and is capable of covering targets over a 360-degree horizon. The air-launched version has a smaller booster and additional tail fins for added stability during launch.

The air-launched BrahMos-A missile has an estimated range of 300 to 400 km (186-248 mi). The Su-30 and the BrahMos, are themselves powerful weapons. However, when one of the world’s best fighters is equipped with a formidable cruise missile, their power will be multiplied.

In tests, each BrahMos missile tore through warships and turned ground targets into ashes. The velocity of 2,120 km/h (1,320 mph) of Su-30MKI will increase the kinetic energy of the missile, turning it into destructive power. An attack with two Su-30MKI squadrons, within minutes, can completely paralyze enemy command and control centers.

BrahMos anti-ship missiles

Combined with Su-30MKI, BrahMos is even more dangerous

In a potential confrontation with China, the tactics of using the duo of Sukhoi and BrahMos may not achieve such results, as China’s valuable targets lie deep within the mainland or on the east coast. However, China’s military infrastructure in Tibet and its strategic rail lines are still within the range of BrahMos.

Currently, India is actively marketing this powerful anti-ship missile in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

India has long tried to export BrahMos missiles, which will be an important step on a long way to turn a country from a major arms importer into an important military industrial center. Southeast Asia and the Middle East are priority areas in New Delhi’s political and economic policy. These are areas where India has a significant influence.

One of BrahMos’ most potential customers is the Philippines. In December 2019, Philippine Defense Secretary Dolphin Lorenzana announced that the Philippines is interested in buying two sets of BrahMos missiles, and assumed that the contract could be signed by 2020.

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