Russo-Indian Brahmos Co-Op To Be Extended

 - November 15, 2013, 12:56 PM
Russo-Indian cooperation to develop the Brahmos cruise missile will be extended. But integration onto India’s Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighters has been delayed. (Photo: Chris Pocock)

The contract between India and Russia to cooperate on the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile expires in February next year but is likely “to be renewed indefinitely by the end of [this] year,” an Indian Ministry of Defense (MoD) official, who did not wish to be identified, told AIN. “We’re partners. It’s not for us to divulge,” Shivathnu Pillai, CEO and managing director of BrahMos Aerospace, told AIN.

Earlier this year, the Indian Navy tested a highly maneuverable, warship-based version of the Brahmos. The surface-to-surface version has a top speed of Mach 2.8, and 290 km range with GPS/Glonass mid-course guidance. It is being prepared for service with two regiments of the Indian Army and eight warships of the Indian Navy. An upgraded Block III version with steep-dive capability was demonstrated to the Army for mountain operations, Minister of Defense A.K. Antony told Parliament in April.

Trials of the missile on two Indian Air Force Su-30MKIs have been delayed until next year after the aircraft’s undercarriage has been strengthened. There are weight issues, and the missile requires new hard points, as well as a link to the aircraft’s fire control systems. The air variant will feature just one booster instead of two. Hindustan Aeronautics is performing the modification at its facility in Nashik, West India. Last month, the Indian Government approved $1.2 billion for testing and integration of approximately 200 Brahmos missiles on the IAF’s Su-30MKIs. Indian industry is supplying most of the subsystems for navigation and fire control.

Brahmos is the first joint venture between India and a foreign partner for design and development of an advanced defense system, and the arrangement gives India an equity share ratio of 50.5 percent, valued at $300 million, to Russia’s 49.5 percent.