Indian Air Force Sukhoi jets being retrofitted with cruise missile podsJanuary 10th, 2009 - 2:11 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Jan 10 (IANS) Two Indian Air Force (IAF) Sukhoi-30MKI combat jets have been sent to Russia for a retrofit that would enable them launch the aerial version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile that India and Russia have jointly developed, an official said.”The aerial version of the BrahMos missiles will be delivered from the Su-30MKI platform. We were in talks with Sukhoi and the IAF for it. Finally two Su-30MKIs of the IAF have been sent to Russia for retrofitting,” a senior official of BrahMos Aerospace that manufactures the missile, told IANS, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“The aerial version of BrahMos is coming along very well. After being programmed, the missile will be released from the aircraft and will auto-launch towards its target when it reaches an altitude of 50 metres,” the official explained.
“The aerial version is nearly nine metres long and this requires modifications of the aircraft’s fuselage. Since the Sukhoi company is busy with designing a fifth generation fighter, (India’s) DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) scientists, along with Russian experts, will carry out the necessary modifications,” the official said.
The modifications will be completed by early 2010.
Once this happens, BrahMos will become a “universal cruise missile” due to its ability to be launched from land, sea - from both ships and submarines - and the air.
The land and naval versions have already been inducted into service with the Indian Army and the Indian Navy.
The navy has integrated anti-ship versions of the BrahMos on its warships, including INS Rajput, and is integrating it on to two other ships of the same class. The missiles will also be mounted on the three 7,000-tonne Kolkata class destroyers currently being constructed at Mumbai’s Mazagon Docks.
The navy had Dec 18 last year test-fired the missile from a vertical launcher on a ship in the Bay of Bengal. All earlier launches had been carried out from inclined launchers.
The missile, which takes its name from the Brahmaputra and Moskva rivers, has a range of nearly 300 km and carries a 300 kg conventional warhead. It can achieve speeds of up to 2.8 Mach or nearly three times the speed of sound.
BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited was established in India as a joint venture through an inter-governmental agreement signed between India and Russia in February 1998.
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