In November 2017, BrahMos Aerospace and India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) conducted the first air launch of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile. The weapon was launched from an Indian Air Force (IAF) Sukhoi Su-30MKI as the first stage of clearing the weapon for IAF deployment. Forty Su-30s are being modified to fire the missile, which could become operational by the end of this year.
BrahMos is a joint venture between the DRDO and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyeniya to develop versions of the Russian P-800 Oniks supersonic weapon for air-, ship-, submarine- and ground-launched use. The weapon has a first-stage rocket for acceleration and a ramjet for sustained flight.
Developments continue, and a BrahMos II with hypersonic capability of around Mach 7/8 is being worked on. A smaller BrahMos-NG is more of a priority, a missile that retains the Mach 3+ speed and 290km range of the original but in a lighter, shorter body. This has particular applications for air launch, the original missile being too large for carriage by many potential platforms.