Russian-Indian joint venture BrahMos Aerospace has successfully flown the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile on a Su-30MKI frontline strike fighter of the Indian Air Force (IAF). The long-awaited demonstration flight, carried out at HAL Nasik on 25th June, brings the programme one step closer to a test firing of the 2.5t weapon, currently scheduled to occur in the coming months.
The missile technology demonstrator with an inert warhead and sensors designed to register the missile’s flight and technical characteristics was mounted on the under-belly launcher of the Su-30MKI. The Indian Air Force is planning to equip around 40 Su-30MKIs with BrahMos cruise missiles.
The design of the missile — already operational with the Indian Army and Navy — has been modified so that it can be mounted on the Su-30MKI. In particular, the load on its bearing elements has been redistributed. The weight and the length of the air-launched version of the BrahMos cruise missile have been reduced by 500kg to 2.5t and by almost 0.5m, respectively.
The 9m missile can carry a warhead weighing up to 300kg to a maximum distance of 290km (180 miles) at a speed of Mach 2.8.
In April, BrahMos Aerospace declared that it hoped to sign its first export contract to deliver BrahMos cruise missiles to an unidentified friendly country in the Asia-Pacific Region by the end of 2016.