Friday, August 27, 2010

India Ruled Out Integration BrahMos Missile on MMRCA

The high-profile “medium multi-role combat aircraft” (MMRCA), 126 of which are being purchased by the IAF at a mind-boggling price tag of Rs 42,000 crore, has been ruled out for integration with the supersonic BrahMos missile. BrahMos Aerospace, the Indo-Russian joint venture, has successfully developed the low-altitude supersonic BrahMos cruise missile that is quicker than any other missile in the world.

Having a speed of 2.8 mach, BrahMos, with a range of 290 km, is four times faster than American Tomahawk cruise missile, widely used by the USA during its offensive against Iraq. BrahMos Aerospace is now working to develop a hypersonic missile having a speed of over 6 mach.

Addressing a press conference on the sidelines of the Space Expo here today, A Sivathanu Pillai, CEO and MD of BrahMos Aerospace, said the new hypersonic missile would be ready in another five years. The warhead of the hypersonic missile would be relatively smaller, he said and added that because of its speed, the hypersonic missile would hit the target with a devastating impact nevertheless.

Pillai said following the induction of the supersonic BrahMos in the Army and the Navy, they were now working to develop a supersonic missile for the IAF. He said the missile would be integrated with the Russian Sukhoi 30 aircraft. Pillai said $50 million, split between the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and its Russian partner on a 50.5 and 49.5 per cent basis, had been allocated for developing the air force version of the missile to be used for air-to-ground attacks Modifications in the Sukhoi aircraft for integrating the missile would be carried out by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) at its facility at Nashik, Pillai said.

Blueprint for the changes would be drawn up by the Sukhoi design bureau in Russia, Pillai said. The flight-test of the air force variant of the missile would take place in 2012, he added. On the issue of integrating the missile with the MMRCA, which the IAF was in the process of acquiring, Pillai said medium aircraft were not being considered for firing the missile. “Sukhoi, being a big aircraft, is ideal for BrahMos,” he said.-PTI

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