Bengaluru: The anti-ship version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile was successfully test-fired by Indian Navy today. According to sources, the missile was fired from INS Ranvijay, a Rajput-class destroyer, in the Bay of Bengal region.
This was the fourth successful test of BrahMos missile in a span of just over a week.
On November 24, the Indian Army had test-fired a land-attack version of the missile. This was followed by another land version launch by both Indian Army and Indian Air Force, on November 25.
It was for the first time ever the three Services tested the readiness of BrahMos systems within the duration of one week.
Sources confirm that today’s launch has been carried as a part of the capability-enhancement of the existing system in service with Indian Navy.
The BrahMos systems were commissioned in the Indian Navy 15 years back and have undergone several upgrades since then.
Tuesday’s launch was part of the annual firing and the missile was tested for a range of 290 km.
“The missile found its mark and precisely hit the designated target. As per initial reports, significant damage to the target has been reported and we are waiting for detailed assessment,” an official said. The missile was tested against a Battle Practice Target (BPT).
This year, the Navy has undertaken two successful test-firings of BrahMos. On October 18, the missile tested from INS Chennai, successfully penetrated the designated target with pinpoint precision.
In 2020, BrahMos missile had seven successful outings with two launches each being credited to Services, in addition to a developmental trial.
Despite the pandemic and lockdown, the teams of engineers and scientists at BrahMos Aerospace have worked quietly to conduct seven launches this year, out of which four were back-to-back missions spread over a week.
With its precision strike and highest range in its class, the missile holds the rare distinction of near-100-per-cent-accuracy from over 80 trials so far.
The missile has been tested against variety of targets on sea and land, including decommissioned warships and BPTs mimicking full displacement warships and land targets.
The back-to-back BrahMos tests have given a huge boost to the confidence of the users.
“These successive tests are very important as they provide similar logistical and operational challenges, which we face in the actual operational scenario. Such firing checks operational preparedness of Services and establishes high reliability, confidence and operational expertise of system,” a military official said.
With emphasis on jointness among the Services, the recent trials have proven the versatility of the missile and its systems.
In January this year, during the induction of Sukhois armed with BrahMos into the resurrected No 222 Squadron (The Tigersharks) at the Air Force Station (AFS) Thanjavur, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat had spoken at length about the jointness among armed forces.
“Su-30MKI with BrahMos will be a game-changer. It will enhance the might of our own maritime domain. My role primary lies in jointness and integration. The first chapter in jointness and integrated military missions has been scripted at this temple town,” Gen Rawat had said.
At the DefExpo2020 in Lucknow, Dr Sudhir Kumar Mishra, CEO & MD of BrahMos Aerospace told Onmanorama that the new variant of the missile, BrahMos-NG will be ready by 2024.
“There are several improvements coming into the BrahMos. It is a great missile and every three, six, nine months we are coming out with new additions. We keep evolving so as to give different strategies to our armed forces,” Dr Mishra had said.
(The writer is an independent aerospace and defence journalist, who blogs at Tarmak007 and tweets @writetake.)