Brahmos Supersonic Cruise Missile Of India-Russia, Praised As Fastest Supersonic Missile In The World

The BrahMos is a medium-range ramjet supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarine, ships, aircraft, or land. It is the fastest supersonic cruise missile in the world.

Brahmos Supersonic Cruise Missile
Brahmos Supersonic Cruise Missile

The BRAHMOS is a short-range supersonic cruise missile, that can carry nuclear warhead. It was jointly developed by India and Russia. The BRAHMOS Aerospace joint venture was established in 1998 and started working on the project. The acronym BRAHMOS is an abbreviation of two rivers, the Brahmaputra of India and Moskva of Russia. The missile was first test fired in 2001.

The BRAHMOS entered service with the Indian armed forces in 2006. This missile has been adopted by Indian Army, Navy and Air Force. Some sources report that Indian armed forces have a total requirement for about 1 000 of these missiles. This cruise missile is also being proposed for export customers from 14 countries. Philippine Army has an acquisition project with India and plans to acquire this weapon by 2024.

The BRAHMOS is based on the Russian P-800 Oniks supersonic anti-ship cruise missile. The missile is 9 m long and has a diameter of 0.7 m. It has a two-stage propulsion system. It uses solid-fuel rocket booster for initial acceleration and liquid-fuel ramjet for sustained supersonic cruise. The booster is ejected by the airflow after it has burned out.

This missile has a range of 290-300 km. It can carry nuclear warhead, or 200-300 kg conventional warhead. The range is limited to 300 km, as Russia is a signatory of the Missile Technology Control Regime, which prohibits it from helping other countries develop missiles with ranges above 300 km.

The BRAHMOS is one of the fastest cruise missiles in the world. It travels at supersonic speed and can gain a speed of Mach 2.8 (3 430 km/h). This missile was developed primarily as an anti-ship missile, however there are also land attack versions. This cruise missile has GPS/GLONASS/GAGAN satellite guidance. It uses US, Russian or Indian navigation satellites and has a pin-point accuracy. At a maximum range it can hit a target as small as 1.5×1.5 m. It is a fire-and-forget type missile.

The BRAHMOS has the capability to engage targets from a very low altitude. It uses Russian sea-skimming cruise missile technology and can fly at altitude from 5 to 14 000 meters. Also it can maneuver at supersonic speed before hitting the target. Close-in weapon systems might not be effective against BRAHMOS, as it travels too fast. Also this missile can be used in electronic countermeasures environment. So it might be a hard nut for air defense systems to intercept.

The missile has vertical launch configuration. However, if required this missile can be launched at any angle through 360 degrees.

A land-based BRAHMOS is carried and launched from a mobile TEL, base on a Tatra T816-6MWR8T 12×12 chassis. Vehicle carries 3 missiles. The TEL is operated by a crew of 3. A typical battery consists of 3-4 launcher vehicles, command post and associated reloading vehicles. The BRAHMOS can be also mounted on ships, submarines and carried by aircraft.

In 2019 Phillipine Army displayed a mockup of the BRAHMOS system, based on a semi-trailer. It is towed by a Kia KM503 military tractor.

Brahmos Variants

The Brahmos block II is an improved weapon with a new navigation system and upgraded software. It has a capability of discriminating targets. It can select a particular target among the group of targets.

The Brahmos block III has even more advanced guidance and upgraded software. The missile can perform multiple maneuvers at a number of points. Also it has a steep dive from high altitude capability, which enables it to engage targets hidden behind a mountain range.

Naval BRAHMOS. In 2014 a naval version of the BRAHMOS missile was first fired from the Indian Navy frigate. It can be used as anti-ship missile and hit all classes of warships. Also it can be used against ground targets. This cruise missile can be installed on submarines. As of 2015 the submarine-launched version is being tested.

BRAHMOS-A is an air-launched version. It is carried by fixed-wing aircraft. It is 9 m long and has a launched weight of 2 500 kg. It can be carried by an Indian Su-30MKI, however structural changes of the fuselage are required. The Indian Air Force has already adopted this cruise missile.

BRAHMOS-M another air-launched version. However this missile is smaller. It is 6 m long, but has the same range. It can be used by more Indian aircraft without modifications, such as, MiG-29K, Mirage 2000, and the Su-30MKI. As of 2015 this missile is still under development. It is expected to be adopted by 2017.

BRAHMOS II is a new hypersonic cruise missile, that is currently being developed by the BRAHMOS Aerospace joint venture. It is a downgraded export version of the Russian Tsyrkon. It is planned that the new missile will attain speed of up to Mach 7 (8 575 km/h). It is described as one of the fastest cruise missile in the world. It will have the same range as the BRAHMOS. It is expected to be ready for testing by 2017.

CX-1 is a Chinese anti-ship cruise missile. It looks like it is a copy of either P-800 Oniks or the BRAHMOS.

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