India Needs A Cheaper Cruise Missile With Same Range And Lethality As BrahMos: IAF Chief Hints At New Weapon For Rocket Force

India Needs A Cheaper Cruise Missile With Same Range And Lethality As BrahMos: IAF Chief Hints At New Weapon For Rocket Force

by Swarajya Staff - Wednesday, May 31, 2023 05:21 PM IST
India Needs A Cheaper Cruise Missile With Same Range And Lethality As BrahMos: IAF Chief Hints At New Weapon For Rocket ForceA BrahMos missile test-fired from Integrated Test Range, Chandipur.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief has indicated the necessity for a more affordable cruise missile possessing range and lethality comparable to the BrahMos missile, suggesting the potential development of a new weapon for the country's rocket force.

"Seeing the conflicts that are happening across the globe, the importance of precision, long-range firepower can't be underscored," the IAF Chief, who was speaking at an event organised by BrahMos Aerospace, said.

"This is an area where we need to really focus our energies and scientific minds to be able to develop a smaller weapon — primarily in terms of cost — with the same reach and lethality" as the BrahMos, he added.

As Swarajya has argued in the past, India needs a cheaper cruise missile as the BrahMos costs upwards of Rs 34 crore a piece and will be reserved for a limited number of high-value targets.

Amid escalating tensions with China along the Line of Actual Control, India has taken the decision to establish a dedicated rocket force.

The People's Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF) of China is the world's largest ground-based conventional missile force.

In the event of a conflict with India, China would use the rocket force to hit key operational targets like command and control centres, air bases, force concentrations, logistics nodes and other critical infrastructure in the initial stages of the war to degrade India's ability to fight.

The 33 per cent increase in the size of the PLARF in three years between 2017 and 2019 indicates China's increased reliance on the rocket force.

India has ground-launched missiles to respond to such an attack, but the options are severely limited when compared to China and under the command of different services. Both the Indian Army and the Air Force have ground-based BrahMos missiles, but the lack of theaterisation and jointness means they can't be used optimally.

A dedicated rocket force equipped with new missiles, including Pralay, would remedy these issues.

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