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During LIMA 2017 in Malaysia, the Russian-Indian BrahMos Aerospace Joint Venture presented its BrahMoS anti-ship missile.

During a briefing for Mönch, BrahMos’ representative explained the current architecture of the system and recent developments.It was confirmed that the missile was designed for four different platforms – land (of the Indian Army, three missiles per vehicle, four vehicles in a mobile battery + one command vehicle), surface vessels, submarines and aircraft. So far a submarine-launched variant is still in the development phase, while the BrahMos-A (air-launched variant which is 0.5 tonnes lighter than the standard version) is finishing its tests. They are planned to be accomplished in 1-2 months, an official revealed at LIMA 2017. The first test launch against a sea target from the Su-30MKI jet (the only suitable aircraft at the moment) is planned during the next few months. First flight of the SU-30MKI with the BrahMos missile took place on June 25, 2016. All work on integrating the missile with the airplane have already been accomplished, officials of the company confirmed. So far the modernised Su-30MKI with missiles has spent more than 25 hours in the air. Deliveries are planned to start just after final tests. At the same time it was confirmed by the Severnoye Design Burea that the company is ready to integrate the BrahMos missiles on the Project 11356M frigates for the Indian Navy after they are ordered by India.

In December 2016, Russia and India agreed to work on a BrahMos with an extended range (from roughly 292 km to 600 km). A test of a new variant, with a range of approximately 400 km, occurred on March 14, 2017 – just a few days before LIMA 2017. According to Russian sources, at the same time the company is working on a new, lightweight variant which would be mounted on submarines and most advanced jets, such as Sukhoi T-50 (PAK-FA) or MiG-35 (still under consideration). Regarding the former platform, a new BrahMos would then be launched from standard 533 torpedo tubes instead of vertical launchers, which increase the size of a vessel.

It is worth adding that Sudhir Kumar Mishra, CEO of BrahMos, said that Russia and India may soon start exporting their anti-ship missile to foreign customers. The first contract might be signed by the end of 2017. “Export to third countries is feasible. It has not taken place yet because the Indian Army has been buying many missiles and, hence, priority was given to India. Now, other countries may buy the missile too,” he was quoted as saying in LIMA 2017. “We are ready to implement any amount of export orders due to serial production. In any case the decision to export BrahMos missiles will be taken by the governments of Russia and India.”

It is believed that countries such as Argentina, Brazil and the United Arab Emirates are interested in procuring BrahMos missiles. There are no reports about any serious interest from Asian customers (aside from some unconfirmed rumours about Vietnam). However, as the company’s representative admitted during tradehows in Malaysia, after LIMA 2017 this may change.

Robert Czulda

 

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