India test fires BrahMos supersonic cruise missile

January 20th, 2009 - 9:16 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 20 (IANS) Amid heightened sub-continental tensions, India Tuesday successfully test-fired the land attack version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, which has been jointly developed with Russia, at the Pokhran range in Rajasthan. Defence Minister A.K. Antony, however, said the test was “pre-planned”.

“It (BrahMos test) is a normal thing. The test was pre-planned… BrahMos (is part of the arsenal) of the Navy and the Army. The decision (to test) was taken much earlier. We are continuing with that,” Antony told reporters here.

The test, conducted by the Indian Army, was termed successful with the missile meeting the laid down parameters, an official said.

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

The Indian 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 on the destroyer INS Rajput, with two other ships of the same class to 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.

The missile, 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.

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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