India on Thursday successfully test-fired a BrahMos missile from a fighter aircraft using an indigenous seeker for the first time.
The test was carried out at the Pokhran test range.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman congratulated the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the armed forces and the defence industry for the success of the test.
“Formidable Supersonic Cruise Missile BrahMos was successfully flight tested at 8.42 a.m. at Pokhran test range, Rajasthan,” the Minister tweeted.
“The precision strike weapon with Indian-made seeker flew in its designated trajectory and hit the target with pin-point accuracy,” she said.
A seeker guides the missile to its target.
BrahMos ALCM (Air Launched Cruise Missile), weighing 2.5 tonnes, is lighter than the land and sea versions of the missile which weigh around 3 tonnes, but is also the heaviest weapon to be deployed on India’s Su-30 aircraft.
So, the aircraft has been modified by the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) to carry the weapon.
BrahMos is a joint venture between the DRDO of India and NPO Mashinostroyeniya of Russia.
The Su-30, considered the most potent fighter jet with India, was the choice for fitting the Brahmos missile, as it has a airframe of titanium and high-strength aluminium alloys, fit for a high-speed terrain following profile.
The fighter jet’s aerodynamic configuration increases the aircraft’s lifting effectiveness, deflects automatically and allows high angle-of-attack flights.
The integral aerodynamic configuration combined with thrust vectoring results in practically unlimited manoeuvrability and unique take-off and landing characteristics.
According to informed sources, the modification to the fighter includes hardened electronic circuitry to shield it from the electromagnetic pulse of a nuclear blast.
Along with the aircraft, the missile was also modified to make it carry a reduced booster and fins for stability.
The missile can be released from a height of 500 to 14,000 metres (1,640 to 46,000 feet). After release, the missile falls freely for 100-150 metre, then moving into a cruise phase at 14,000 metre and finally the terminal phase at 15 metre.