Following the Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) first successful test launch of the BrahMos-A (Air) supersonic cruise missile from a Sukhoi Su-30MKI multirole fighter, India is seeking to finalise development of the lighter BrahMos NG variant by 2019, according to a 26 November report by the Mumbai-based Times Now news channel.
A senior defence official was quoted by the channel as saying that the air-launched BrahMos NG is “currently in the design stage, although initial consultations have been held”, adding that the missile, which is expected to also be fired from the indigenously developed Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), is likely to be ready by 2019.
According to Jane’s Weapons: Air-Launched , the BrahMos NG will have a reduced size and weight – a length of 6 m, a diameter of 0.5 m, and a weight of 1,500 kg – compared with the other air-to-surface and surface-to-surface variants of the missile. It is intended to have a speed of Mach 3.5, with a similar range and payload profile to other variants at about 290 km and 300 kg, respectively.
The news report comes after the IAF test-fired the BrahMos-A on 22 November against a target off the country’s east coast in the Bay of Bengal. The 2.5-tonne, two-stage, air-launched cruise missile (ALCM) was “gravity dropped” from a modified Su-30MKI, after which the missile’s cruise engine “fired up and propelled it towards the intended target in the Bay of Bengal”, according to a statement by the government’s Press Information Bureau (PIB).
The successful test firing of the BrahMos-A, which has been jointly developed by India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyenia (NPOM), “completes” the tactical cruise missile triad for India, said the PIB, pointing out that the weapon can now be launched from land, sea, and air.
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