Monday, March 30, 2009

BrahMos cruise missile hits 'bull's eye'

The Indian Army on Sunday successfully test fired the land attack version of the supersonic BrahMos cruise missile at the Pokhran test range in Rajasthan. The missile took off successfully and hit the "bull's eye", an official statement said. The missile, a joint venture of India and Russia, was fired at 11.15 am on Sunday.

"Today (Sunday) land attack version of BrahMos block-II was tested from a mobile autonomous launcher at Pokhran test range by the Indian Army. The missile took off successfully and hit the desired target at bull's eye meeting all mission parameters," a statement issued by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said.

This is the second launch this month and third this year for the block-II version for the army. In the first test, the missile failed to hit the target. The army kept the results of the second test under wraps even though DRDO termed it successful.

"With this launch, the requirement of army for the land attack version with block-II advanced seeker software with target discriminating capabilities has been fully met and this version is ready for induction," the statement said.

According to the DRDO officials, the missile will provide an enhanced capability to the army for selection of a particular land target among a group of targets.

The launch was witnessed by Director General Military Operations Lt. Gen. AS Sekhon, Commandant School of Artillery Lt. Gen. KR Rao and Additional Director General Artillery Maj. Gen. VK Tiwari along with other senior army officers.

The CEO of BrahMos A Sivathanu Pillai and other senior scientists were also present during the launch, the release added. Cruise missiles fly at low altitudes and have the ability to evade enemy radars and air-defence systems. They are also easier and cheaper to operate.

The Indian Army has already begun inducting the land-fired version of the BrahMos, with the first battery entering service in June 2007. Each battery is equipped with four mobile launchers mounted on heavy 12x12 Tatra transporters.

The army plans to induct three more such batteries. The anti-ship naval version has also been inducted into service with its integration on the destroyer INS Rajput, with two other ships of the same class to be similarly equipped. The missiles will also be mounted on the three 7,000 tonne Kolkata class destroyers currently being constructed at Mumbai's Mazagon docks.

The missile, which takes its name from the Brahmaputra and Moskva rivers, has a 300-km range and carries a 300 kg conventional warhead. It can achieve speeds of up to 2.8 Mach or nearly three times the speed of sound.

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