BrahMos Aplenty

Indian Navy proposal to acquire more than 200 BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles is at an advanced stage and is expected to be soon cleared by the MOD

April 1, 2023 By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd) Photo(s): By Twitter / indiannavy
The Author is Former Director General of Information Systems and A Special Forces Veteran, Indian Army

 

Indian Navy's successful precision strike in the Arabian Sea by ship launched BrahMos missile with DRDO designed Indigenous Seeker & Booster reinforces its commitment towards ATMANIRBHARTA.

On March 5, 2023, the Indian Navy successfully test-fired the ship-launched version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, with the missile falling into the Arabian Sea. BrahMos missile flies at a speed of 2.8 Mach or almost three times the speed of sound. The missile that was tested had the indigenous "seeker and booster'. Media quoted an unnamed defence official saying, "The Indian Navy carried out a successful precision strike in the Arabian Sea by ship launched BrahMos missile with DRDO-designed indigenous seeker and booster, reinforcing our commitment towards Atmanirbharta (self-reliance) in defence." The anti-ship version of the supersonic cruise missile was also successfully test-fired jointly by the Indian Navy and the Andaman and Nicobar Command in April last year.

The missile that was tested had the indigenous "seeker and booster'

BrahMos Aerospace Pvt Ltd, an India-Russian joint venture (JV) between the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) of India and the Federal State Unitary Enterprise NPO Mashinostroyenia (NPOM) of Russia was established in India in 1998. It produces BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles that can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft, or land platforms. The design of the cruise missile has been jointly done by the DRDO and the NPOM. The name BrahMos has been derived from two rivers Brahmaputra of India and Moskva of Russia.

News reports of March 13, 2023, revealed that BrahMos Aerospace Private Ltd is getting big boost with the Indian Navy proposing to procure some 200 x ship-launched versions of the BrahMos cruise missiles. A senior defence official said, "The Indian Navy proposal to acquire more than 200 of these BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles is at an advanced stage and is expected to be cleared by the Ministry of Defence soon."

BrahMos supersonic cruise missile now comprises 78 per cent indigenous components sourced from the Indian defence industries across the public and private sector

On March 30, 2023, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) inked a contract with BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited (BAPL) for procurement of Next Generation Maritime Mobile Coastal Batteries (Long range) {NGMMCB (LR)} at an approximate cost of over 1,700 crore under Buy (Indian) Category. The delivery of NGMMCBs is scheduled to commence from 2027. These systems will be equipped with supersonic BrahMos Missiles and will significantly enhance multi-directional maritime strike capability of Indian Navy.

Indian Navy successfully demonstrated the accuracy of an extended-range land attack Brahmos supersonic cruise missile from the stealth destroyer INS Chennai

Earlier on March 24, 2023, Atul Dinkar Rane, CEO & MD BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited had said that the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile now comprises 78 per cent indigenous components with the Indian defence industries from across the government and private sector contributing towards this. The engine of the BrahMos cruise missile of course is Russian but we need to pause and think that since the BrahMos missiles entered service in the Indian Armed Forces in 2005, with the first lot delivered in 2004, is 78 per cent indigenisation enough since then or could we have done better?

BrahMos is in serious talks with nations in South East Asia and Middle East for exporting BrahMos missiles to these countries

The BrahMos supersonic cruise missile is top of the line in its class, because of which it has tremendous export potential. In January 2022, India had sealed a $375 million deal with the Philippines for supplying three batteries of the BrahMos missiles. First batch of the Philippines Marine Corps personnel have already been trained in India at the BrahMos facilities and more batches are to be trained in India similarly. Rane had said earlier that after the $375 million deal with the Philippines, his team was targeting $5 billion worth of BrahMos missiles export by 2025. According to Atul Rane, BrahMos is in serious talks with nations in South East Asia and Middle East for exporting BrahMos missiles to these countries.

Queried about the impact of the Ukraine-Russia war on the Indo-Russian BrahMos supply chain, Rane said that the ongoing geopolitical situation brings in trouble for any supply chain and the pandemic had also done so, however, these were just small speed breakers and roadblocks and that the BrahMos supply chain is robust. He further said, "We have a wonderful order book till 2027....With a few new orders coming we have an order book filled till 2031."

Rane further said that a few nations were working on hypersonic missiles and that the systems are being tested, whereas BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited is also working on developing the related technology, and "once the technology is available, BrahMos will be using it to create a hypersonic missile, we are waiting for that technology to be ready." He added that BrahMos Aerospace is also working on a lighter version of the BrahMos missile, dubbed BrahMos NG (new generation); the missile is undergoing development and could have its maiden test flight by end 2024.