Air-Launched Weapons

Indian Air Force test fires BrahMos-A from Su-30MKI

23 May 2019

Test firing of the BrahMos-A missile from Indian Air Force’s Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft in May 2019. Source: Press Information Bureau

The Indian Air Force (IAF) successfully test fired the BrahMos-A (Air) supersonic cruise missile from a Sukhoi Su-30MKI multirole fighter on 22 May against a land target off the country's east coast in the Bay of Bengal.

The 2.5-tonne, two-stage, air-launched cruise missile (ALCM) - developed by a joint venture (JV) between the Russian Federation's NPO Mashinostroyeniya and India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) - was launched from a modified Su-30MKI, where a "smooth" launch from the aircraft was verified and "the missile followed the desired trajectory before directly hitting the land target", according to a statement by the government's Press Information Bureau (PIB).

"Today's was the second such live launch of the weapon", around 18 months after the weapon completed its first live test against naval target in November 2017, the PIB stated, adding that "the integration of the weapon on the aircraft was a very complex process involving mechanical, electrical, and software modifications on aircraft".

The 300 km range supersonic cruise missile is a modified variant of its basic naval/land configuration. It features several design refinements, which include a lighter propulsion system, as well as redesigned fins and nose cap.

Jane's learned that the missile's induction will begin immediately after two certified launches against a naval and a ground target are carried out, and this test marked the first milestone towards it.

Jane's previously reported that the IAF aims to equip two Su-30MKI (modified) squadrons (totalling 42 fighters) with the BrahMos-A to augment its precision-strike capabilities. In this development, India's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has similarly readied a second Su-30MKI (modified) at its Nashik complex in western India and will ready the remaining aircraft in phases.

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