India is all set to create history with the maiden test-firing of BrahMos cruise missile from a Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter any time soon. This will be the first ever test-firing of a supersonic cruise missile in the world from a frontline fighter against a target.
Military sources confirmed to Mathrubhumi that preparations have been on in full swing at one of the air bases in the eastern sector. Two Sukhois with modified bellies have been readied for the job, while one will be on a stand-by.
The launch crew consisting of scientists, engineers, technicians, designers and pilots from the Indian Air Force (IAF), BrahMos Aerospace and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) have been active at the air base for the last one week.
It can be confirmed that all pre-flight tests have been concluded and weather-permitting the first BrahMos missile will be fired against a temporary target being set at the Bay of Bengal.
Software fine-tuned to perfection
BrahMos officials were unavailable for any comments. A team from BrahMos is said to be attending the Dubai Air Show.
Speaking to the media at Dubai on Sunday, Alexander Maksichev, BrahMos Joint Managing Director too confirmed that the first test-firing of the missile could take place towards the end of November.
However, Mathrubhumi can confirm that the maiden live firing of the 2.4-ton air-to-ground missile might take place within the next one week.
Last year in June, a Su-30MKI undertook the first flight with BrahMos onboard at HAL’s Nasik Division with a modified belly and desi launcher.
The first demonstration flight had lasted for 58-minute demonstration flight carrying the supersonic cruise missile. The maiden profile of missile in an airborne role was technically called as a ‘Mass Dimensional’ one.
Since then several flights were tests (separation trials or dummy missile drop tests) were conducted during ‘technological missile profile,’ testing various parameters and different modes. In the last one year, the technical team fine-tuned the software based on the data collected from various tests.
The upcoming firing of BrahMos will be in its full profile. BrahMos air variant will enable the IAF to penetrate deep inside the enemy territory and destroy vital installations from stand-off ranges.
Once inducted, IAF will become the only air force in the world in possession of a supersonic cruise missile system.
Former IAF Chief Arup Raha delighted
Reacting to the news of the impending test, former Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha (Retd) told Mathrubhumi that BrahMos will give a major boost to the capability enhancement of IAF.
“I am delighted that finally the programme is inching closer to its goal. It is a huge indigenous step strengthening our strategic capabilities. It propels IAF’s strike capabilities by many folds. BrahMos on Sukhoi strengthens our stand-off capability in a dense environment,” the former IAF chief said from Calcutta.
He said with Su-30MKI features coupled with BrahMos’ supersonic cruise abilities, the IAF will become a formidable force in the region. It was during his time that the programme got a major fillip with HAL tasked to modify two Su-30MKI platforms.
“More aircraft from the existing inventory can be modified and even the new ones too can be integrated with BrahMos. I am happy that the programme has come to such an advanced stage. I shall wait for the big news now,” ACM Raha (Retd) said.