India test-fires BrahMos supersonic cruise missile (Lead)

March 4th, 2009 - 8:35 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 4 (IANS) India test-fired the land-attack version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile at the Pokharan range in Rajasthan Wednesday, six weeks after a failed test. However, it was not immediately clear if the latest test was successful.
While the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) that has co-developed the missile said the test was successful, the Indian Army said it was still analysing the data from the test.

“The missile successfully hit its target,” a DRDO official said Wednesday evening.

However, an army official said on condition of anonymity: “Currently we are analysing the data of the test. We will be able to say anything only by tomorrow (Thursday).”

The BrahMos missile, a joint venture of India and Russia, failed a test firing Jan 20 as it missed the target.

The army has already begun inducting the land-fired version of the BrahMos, with the first battery entering service in June 2007. Each battery is equipped with four mobile launchers mounted on heavy 12×12 Tatra transporters.

The army plans to induct three more such batteries.

The anti-ship naval version has also been inducted into service with its integration with the destroyer INS Rajput, while two other ships of the same class will also be similarly equipped.

The missiles will also be mounted on the three 7,000-tonne Kolkata class destroyers currently being constructed at Mumbai’s Mazagon Docks.

BrahMos, which takes its name from the Brahmaputra and Moskva rivers, has a nearly 300 km range 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.

The manufacturer, BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited, was established in India as a joint venture through an inter-governmental agreement between India and Russia in February 1998.

Since cruise missiles fly at low altitudes, they have the ability to evade enemy radars and air-defence systems. They are also easier and cheaper to operate as precision strike weapons.

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