Saturday, August 8, 2009

BrahMos close to final testing of air-launched version

BrahMos supersonic cruise missileA top Russian defence official said a new takeoff engine for launching of the missile in air and at extreme high altitudes had been developed.
Alexander Leonov, Director of the Russian Machine Building Research and Production Center, said: "we are ready for test launches."
Leonov was quoted as saying by the Itar-Tass news agency that the initial test firing of the missile would be undertaken from the Sukhoi-30 MKI, but did not specify the exact dates.
After testing, the IAF would be launch customers for the air launched BrahMos cruise missile, which will make the Indian Air Force, the only force in Asia to have such a capability.
The BrahMos is already inducted in its ship to shore role and land-to-land versions in the Indian Navy and Army.
Leonov for the first time disclosed that Moscow and New Delhi were also "very close" to  designing and testing of the submarine launched version of the BrahMos missile.
India's indigenous nuclear powered submarine INS Arihant, which has been launched for final sea trials, could be using the Indian made K-15 nuclear missile. But experts say that its upgraded versions would have facilities to carry BrahMos cruise missiles.
Though Leonov did not directly comment, Russian sources have indicated that the Akula-II class Nerpa nuclear submarine being leased to India this December has the capability to launch underwater BrahMos missiles.

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