Supersonic BRAHMOS – The unrivaled tactical asset of the IAF


IThe Indian Air Force – one of the strongest air powers in the world – has rapidly and vastly improved its operational capabilities and strategic reach by introducing next-generation platforms, weapons and related systems to strengthen its combat power and readiness for war in the context of the rapidly changing geopolitical landscape. Acquiring the multi-purpose capability of platforms and equipment, along with the multi-purpose capability of its personnel, has encouraged the IAF to resolutely guard the Indian skies.

The BRAHMOS supersonic cruise missile is a ranged weapon of unrivaled speed, accuracy and firepower that has galvanized the IAF’s modern air combat capability. The formidable tactical weapon in its advanced air-launched configuration arming the IAF’s frontline Sukhoi-30MKI strike aircraft emerged as an “unprecedented weapon-platform combination” having the lethality to utterly decimate targets strategic enemy land and sea with pinpoint precision.

Shri Atul Dinkar Rane, Outstanding Scientist, Managing Director, BrahMos, DRDO, CEO & Managing Director, BrahMos Aerospace

The powerful BRAHMOS air-launched cruise missile (ALCM) system, designed, developed and produced by BrahMos Aerospace – the India-Russia Joint Venture (JV) defense entity involving DRDO and NPOM – has been inducted into the Army of Indian Air Force in January 2020. The formidable “Tigersharks” squadron comprised of the Su-30MKI-BRAHMOS-A weapon-platform combination has greatly sharpened and expanded the IAF’s modern air warfare potential. The convergence of the unparalleled capabilities of the airborne missile with the superior, super-maneuverable airpower of the front-line combat platform has outclassed any other such system in the world.

As the heaviest and deadliest weapon to arm a long-range air superiority fighter, BRAHMOS-A is capable of annihilating strategic enemy targets at sea and on the ground from and beyond range of visibility. The ability of the Sukhoi-30MKI to launch the weapon from wide distances without getting close to enemy positions makes it an unrivaled advantage.

With its impeccable anti-ship and land-attack power, the supersonic BRAHMOS-A underwent a series of successful test firings before its induction into the IAF. The formidable weapon has established its outstanding performance in neutralizing sea and land targets in day and night conditions, in all weathers, from stand-off distances.

Today, BRAHMOS ALCM has positioned itself as the most powerful conventional airborne precision strike weapon in the world in terms of range, lethality and effectiveness.

In a landmark development, the ALCM became India’s first indigenous weapon of this class and caliber to receive “Fleet Release Authorization” certification from the Military Airworthiness and Certification Center (CEMILAC), DRDO , based in Bengaluru, in June 2020. The FRC certification opened up the way for pilots from IAF squadrons to use the tactical missile during combat missions.

The Universal BRAHMOS, having been deployed with the Indian Army and Navy, has become India’s “ultimate weapon of choice” for undertaking network-centric warfare operations. The IAF has also created a BRAHMOS Land Attack Squadron (LACM) to safeguard territorial integrity.

The commissioning of the BRAHMOS-airbone weapon in the IAF made India the first and only country in the world to complete its “supersonic cruise missile triad”.

BRAHMOS supersonic cruise missile
BRAHMOS supersonic cruise missile

The three Indian services conducted a series of successful test firings of supersonic BRAHMOS from land, sea and air platforms between October and December 2020 as part of “Capacity Building” and also to ensure “Readiness to the missile war. The fast-reacting fire & forget BRAHMOS reaffirmed its flexibility and credibility to be rapidly deployed in all types of terrain and from various platforms over longer distances in a very short time.

In May 2022, the Indian Air Force successfully conducted firing trials of an upgraded variant of the BRAHMOS air-launched weapon system. The missile scored a direct hit against the designated target in the Bay of Bengal, once again proving its mettle.

BrahMos Aerospace, the manufacturer of the BRAHMOS weapon system, has accelerated work to indigenize the missile system. In close coordination with DRDO, the JV entity has successfully indigenized several critical technologies and components from BRAHMOS, thereby improving India’s national security parameters and at the same time reducing the overall production and maintenance costs of the tactical weapon.

“As a high-end precision-guided weapon, BRAHMOS has evolved over the years. We have continuously updated, improved and incorporated new, highly advanced features into the missile system to improve its overall performance parameters. The The number of development and user trials of BRAHMOS conducted so far with an unparalleled success rate speaks volumes about this unique missile system that we have delivered to the Indian Armed Forces.BRAHMOS has greatly enhanced the potential combat force in the 21st century,” said Atul Dinkar Rane, CEO and Managing Director of BrahMos Aerospace.

The year 2022 marked another glorious milestone for the BrahMos JV, with the formidable BRAHMOS becoming India’s first full-fledged weapon to enter the international export market. On January 28, 2022, BrahMos Aerospace signed a landmark export contract with the Republic of the Philippines to deliver the land-based BRAHMOS anti-ship weapon system to the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“As part of the Indian government’s policy to promote responsible defense exports, we have been awarded the multi-million dollar contract from the Republic of the Philippines. This contract is an exceptional result of BrahMos JV’s “Make to Market” strategy. We now intend to build on this momentum to achieve better results on the export front. Many countries across continents have shown keen interest in the versatile BRAHMOS, and we are hopeful of achieving more and more export breakthroughs in the near future,” said Dr. Sanjeev Kr Joshi, Deputy General Manager. of the India-Russia BrahMos JV.

With several nations operating the Russian-origin Sukhoi-30 fighter platform, the powerful BRAHMOS-A, in particular, has become a potential export weapon for their air forces.

Meanwhile, BrahMos JV also started working on a new smaller and lighter BRAHMOS configuration which would be called BRAHMOS-NG (Next Generation). With its reduced dimensions, the new weapon would be compatible to be mounted on board a greater number of modern military platforms – land, sea, air – that too, in greater numbers.

Once successfully developed and tested, the highly advanced BRAHMOS-NG would have immense potential to accelerate India’s defense export aspirations to new heights. BrahMos JV would lead the charge to enhance India’s status as a net arms exporter in the coming years.

BrahMos Aerospace congratulates the Indian Air Force on its 90th founding day.

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