India has tested the air-launched version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from a Su-30 MKI fighter of the Indian Air Force.
The successful test of the missile, conducted at 10:30 hours off the coast of Odisha, has cleared the system for serial production.
According to a statement put out by the Ministry of Defence after the test earlier today (8 December), major airframe assemblies which form an integral part of the Ramjet Engine used in the missile have been indigenously developed by the Indian defence industry.
"These include non-metallic air frame sections comprising Ramjet fuel tank and pneumatic fuel supply system," the statement added.
The air-launched version of the BrahMos missile, also called BrahMos-A, is being integrated with Su-30 MKI fighters of the IAF.
The IAF had test-fired the air-launched version of the BrahMos missile from a modified Su-30 MKI fighter for the first time in 2017. The air version of the missile was last flight tested in July 2021.
As part of a test in 2020, a Su-30 MKI fighter took off with the air-launched version of the missile from a base in Punjab and hit a target with it in the Indian Ocean. A target was hit deep in the Indian Ocean, nearly 4,000 km away, India Today reported, adding that this was “by far the longest [BrahMos] mission”.
The fighter was refuelled mid-air during its journey to the point from which the missile was to be launched.
IAF's No. 222 Squadron 'Tigersharks', deployed at Air Force Station Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu, is being equipped with SU-30 MKIs capable of carrying the air-launched version of the BrahMos missile.
Theoretically, these fighters, equipped with air-launched BrahMos missiles, can hit targets in the eastern Indian Ocean, including the Strait of Malacca, in the event of a conflict with China in this region.
Earlier this year, Su-30 MKIs armed with BrahMos took part in an exercise with the US Navy in the Indian Ocean. The exercise gave the BrahMos-armed squadron an opportunity to practise maritime strikes.
According to news reports, the air-launched version of the missile, lighter than other versions, weighs around 2.5 tonnes. BrahMos Aerospace is also developing an ‘NG’ version of the missile for the IAF. The missile will be smaller and lighter than the current versions of the BrahMos.
According to Livefist, Su-30 MKIs will be capable of carrying three BrahMos-NGs.
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