A BrahMos extended range supersonic cruise missile will be tested on March 10 by the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), an improvement that will increase the missile’s range by over 60 percent.
BrahMos extended range is designed to carry its 200 kg semi-armor piercing, high explosive warhead out to 450 km, which will be two-thirds farther than the current range of 290 km, said DRDO Chief Dr. S Christopher. More important, this BrahMos version will still retain the accuracy of the original version, which can deliver its warhead to about one meter of its target.
One of the biggest drawbacks to BrahMos — the world’s fastest cruise missile — is its paltry range of just 290 km. That drawback was imposed because Russia, the co-builder of the missile, was a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) at the time BrahMos was being developed in the 1990s and India wasn’t.
The MTCR, which now consists of 35 nations, forbids its members from selling, jointly producing or exporting missiles with a range in excess of 300 km. India became the newest member of the MTCR club on June 28, 2016, which means it can now develop but not export missiles with a range exceeding 300 km.
BrahMos is being produced by BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture between India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Russia’s Federal State Unitary Enterprise NPOM.
The decision to extend the range of BrahMos was announced by Russian president Vladimir Putin during the recent 17th annual India-Russia bilateral summit in Goa last Oct. 15.
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“We have also agreed to improve the BrahMos missile, which will be land, air and sea launched. We will also work to increase its range,” said Putin.
India and Russia later agreed to work together to more than double the range of BrahMos to over 600 kilometers, an upgrade that will bring all of Pakistan within range of the missile’s high explosive or nuclear warheads.
The far longer range will also enable this as yet unnamed model to attack more People’s Liberation Army bases in the interior of Tibet that threaten the Line of Actual Control, especially those bases aimed at the imperiled Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh China claims is part of Tibet.
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