Tuesday, March 3, 2009

New Version of BrahMos Missile Test Fired Successfully

A new version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile meant to attack a particular target out of a cluster on land was successfully tested at the Army’s range at Pokhran, Rajasthan, on Wednesday.

This was its 19th flight and the launch took place at 10.35 a.m. In its previous flight on January 20 it missed the target following a software glitch.

This variant is called the Block II version. BrahMos is essentially an anti-ship missile.

Informed sources described it as “a difficult mission” because the target was just 50 km away instead of the normal range of 290 km. Besides, the missile had to perform “a discriminatory role”: it had to hit the desired target out of a cluster of small targets, resembling “a factory-type situation.” The time given to the missile to perform manoeuvres and hit the target was much less than the normal flight. But these “constraints were overcome” with the Global Positioning System (GPS) update coming in correctly and the missile homed in on the desired target, sources said.

The missile flew at a velocity of Mach 2, twice the speed of sound. The normal version flies at Mach 3.

Last time the missile failed to hit the target as the GPS did not have time to correct the error in the inertial navigation system (INS). So the GPS update did not come in. This time, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) ensured that even if the GPS update did not flow in, the missile would hit the target. Modifications were made in the software and simulation runs conducted.

The launch met different mission requirements.

No comments: