Defence ministry inks Rs 1,700 crore deal for additional BrahMos missiles for frontline warships

The defence ministry on Thursday inked a Rs 1,700 crore contract for supply of additional BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, with a strike range of 290-km, for the Navy’s frontline warships.

According to recent reports published by The Times of India, the contract for the “dual role” surface-to-surface missiles, capable of both land attack and anti-ship strikes, was inked between the MoD’s acquisitions wing and the M/s BrahMos Aerospace Pvt Ltd.

“Induction of these missiles will further enhance the Navy’s operational capability. The contract will also boost indigenous production of the critical weapon system and ammunition, with active participation of the domestic industry,” an MoD official said.

The air-breathing BrahMos, which flies almost three times the speed of sound at Mach 2.8, has emerged as the “precision-strike conventional (non-nuclear) weapon” for the Indian armed forces over the years, with contracts worth over Rs 38,000 crore inked till now.

The range of BrahMos, jointly produced by Russia, has also been extended from the original 290-km to 350-400-km now, while a 800-km variant is also in the development phase.

The Indian Navy’s latest guided-missile destroyer INS Visakhapatnam, which was commissioned in November last year, in January had successfully tested the missile’s extended range version. Ten frontline warships are already armed with the missiles, while the vertical launch systems have also been installed on another five warships.

The Indian Army’s BrahMos missile batteries have been deployed in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh, along with tanks, howitzers, surface-to-air missiles and other weapons, amid the continuing over 28-month long military confrontation with China.

The IAF, on its part, has inducted two land-based BrahMos squadrons, while the sleeker air-launched version is also being progressively fitted on Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets. With a combat radius of almost 1,500-km without mid-air refuelling, a Sukhoi armed with BrahMos constitutes a formidable long-range weapons package.

India is also in process of supplying the BrahMos missiles to the Philippines under the $375 million (Rs 2,770 crore) contract inked in January this year, in the first such export order that is expected to pave the way for more such deals with the country as well as other ASEAN countries like Indonesia and Vietnam. UAE, Saudi Arabia and South Africa are among the other countries that have shown an interest in acquiring the BrahMos missiles.

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