India to Buy More BrahMos Missiles

India has plans to introduce into its armed forces the new BrahMos missile, the head of the BrahMos Aerospace company, Sivathanu Pillai, told RIA Novosti on Tuesday.

Established in 1998, BrahMos Aerospace, a joint Indian-Russian venture, produces and markets BrahMos supersonic missiles. The sea-based and land-based versions have been successfully tested and put into service with the Indian Army and Navy.

Earlier on Tuesday, Russia's security chief, Nikolai Patrushev, visited the BrahMos headquarters in New Delhi. BrahMos is an acronym for the cities of Brahmaputra and Moscow.

The missile, known as BrahMos Block-2, can have a top speed of over Mach 5, which could make it virtually impossible to intercept, and can effectively engage even slightly visible ground targets. It has been designed primarily to meet the needs of the army.

"The army officials said they were pleased with last year's ground trials of the missile, and approved of putting it into service," Pillai said.

The company has also been developing another version of the missile for Air Force, the BrahMos-A missile, with a reduced mass and increased aerodynamic stability. The Indian Air Force chose the Russian-made Su-30 MKI Flanker-H multirole fighter as the trial platform for the missile.

"[This] version of the missile is now ready. Air trials will commence in 2011, and by 2012, we are planning to fit the missiles onto aircraft," Pillai said.

The required modifications of the Su-30 MKI for integration with the BrahMos-A missile system are being carried out by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Russia's Sukhoi Design Bureau.

Analysts estimate that India could purchase up to 1,000 BrahMos missiles for its armed forces in the next decade, and export some 500 to other countries during the same period.


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