India successfully tests extended range BrahMos missile from Su-30MKI fighter

In a recent test India successfully fired a 450km range Brahmos-A supersonic cruise missile from Su-30MKI fighter aircraft.

On 12th May India successfully fired the Extended Range Version of BrahMos Air Launched missile from Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft. The launch from the aircraft was as planned and the missile achieved a direct hit on the designated target in the Bay of Bengal region.

It was the first launch of Extended Range version of BrahMos missile from Su-30MKI aircraft. With this, the IAF has achieved the capability to carry out precision strikes from Su-30MKI aircraft against a land/ sea target over very long ranges. The dedicated and synergetic efforts of the IAF, Indian Navy, DRDO, BAPL and HAL have proven the capability of the nation to achieve this feat. The extended range capability of the missile coupled with the high performance of the Su-30MKI aircraft gives the IAF a strategic reach and allows it to dominate the future battle fields.

“This is the first time the new BrahMos missile with a strike range of over 450 km (original range 290 km) has been tested from the air. The Sukhoi, with a combat radius of almost 1,500-km without mid-air refueling, combined with the 450-km range BrahMos missile is a formidable weapons package,” reported by TOI.

A 800-km range variant of BrahMos, which is a conventional (non-nuclear) missile that flies almost three times the speed of sound at Mach 2.8, is also undergoing “developmental trials” at present. Tested for the first time from the interim test range at Balasore in January, this missile variant will be ready for production towards end-2023.

In the test on Thursday, the Sukhoi from the “Tiger Sharks” squadron took off from the Thanjavur airbase in Tamil Nadu, underwent mid-air refuelling and then fired the missile at the “designated target” in the Bay of Bengal. “It was a direct hit,” another official said.

42 IAF SU-30MKI modified to carry the BrahMos-A missile, these modified Su-30MKIs have electronic circuits capable of withstanding nuclear electromagnetic pulse. According to the CEO of BrahMos Aerospace, Sudhir Kumar Mishra, Brahmos-A can reach targets thousands of kilometres away considering the range of launch aircraft. On 20 January 2020, the IAF commissioned its first squadron of Su-30MKI fighters equipped with the BrahMos-A missile. IAF plans to procure 200 BrahMos-A missiles.

The BrahMos-A is a modified air-launched variant of the missile with a range of 500 km which can be launched from a Sukhoi Su-30MKI as a standoff weapon. To reduce the missile’s weight to 2.55 tons, many modifications were made like using a smaller booster, adding fins for airborne stability after launch, and relocating the connector.

It can be released from the height of 500 to 14,000 metres (1,640 to 46,000 ft). After release, the missile free falls for 100–150 metres, then goes into a cruise phase at 14,000 metres and finally the terminal phase at 15 metres. BrahMos Aerospace planned to deliver the missile to the IAF in 2015, where it is expected to arm at least three squadrons. A Su-30MKI is able to only carry one BrahMos missile.

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