BrahMos Super-Hypersonic cruise missile

Posted: July 15, 2012 in cruise missile
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BrahMos (Hindi:ब्रह्मोस, Russian: Брамос) is a stealth supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft or land. It is a joint venture between Republic of India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Russian Federation’s NPO Mashinostroeyenia who have together formed BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited. The name BrahMos is a portmanteau formed from the names of two rivers, the Brahmaputra of India and the Moskva of Russia.
It is expected to be the world’s fastest cruise missile in operation. The missile travels at speeds of Mach 2.8 to 3.0. An Air launched variant of Brahmos is planned which is expected to come out in 2012 and will make India the only country with supersonic cruise missiles in their army, navy, and air force. A hypersonic version of the missile is also presently under development with speed of Mach 7 to boost aerial fast strike capability. It is expected to be ready for testing by 2017.
Though India had wanted the BrahMos to be based on a mid range cruise missile like P-700 Granit, Russia opted for the shorter range sister of the missile, P-800 Oniks, in order to comply with Missile Technology Control Regime restrictions, to which Russia is a signatory. Its propulsion is based on the Russian missile, and guidance has been developed by BrahMos Corp. The missile is expected to reach a total order worth of US$13 billion

Variants

BrahMos-1
  • Ship launched, Anti-Ship variant (operational)
  • Ship launched, Land attack variant (operational)
  • Land launched, Land attack variant (operational)
  • Land launched, Anti-Ship variant (In induction, tested December 10, 2010)
  • Air launched, Anti-Ship variant (under development, expected completion 2012)
  • Air launched, Land attack variant (under development, expected completion 2012)
  • Submarine launched, Anti-Ship variant (under development, expected completion 2011)
  • Submarine launched, Land attack variant (under development, expected completion 2011)
  • BrahMos block II land variant (Operational)
  • Brahmos block III land variant (Being inducted)
Other models
  • BrahMos-2 – scramjet-propelled, hypersonic version. This version will fly at speeds from 5-7 Mach and would be ready for test flight in 2017.
  • BrahMos-3 – a lighter version of the Brahmos-1 with thinner diameter for medium weight fighters such as the MiG-29K and the MMRCA.

Description

BrahMos claims to have the capability of attacking surface targets by flying as low as 10 metres in altitude. It can gain a speed of Mach 2.8, and has a maximum range of 290 km. The ship-launched and land-based missiles can carry a 200 kg warhead, whereas the aircraft-launched variant (BrahMos A) can carry a 300 kg warhead. It has a two-stage propulsion system, with a solid-propellant rocket for initial acceleration and a liquid-fueled ramjet responsible for sustained supersonic cruise. Air-breathing ramjet propulsion is much more fuel-efficient than rocket propulsion, giving the BrahMos a longer range than a pure rocket-powered missile would achieve.

The high speed of the BrahMos likely gives it better target-penetration characteristics than lighter subsonic cruise-missiles such as the Tomahawk. Being twice as heavy and almost four times faster than the Tomahawk, the BrahMos has almost 32 times the initial kinetic energy of a Tomahawk missile (although it pays for this by having only 3/5 the payload and a fraction of the range despite weighing twice as much, suggesting a different tactical paradigm to achieve the objective). Its 2.8 mach speed means that it cannot be intercepted by some existing missile defence system and its precision makes it lethal to water targets.

Although BrahMos was primarily an anti-ship missile, the Brahmos Block III can also engage land based targets. It can be launched either in a vertical or inclined position and is capable of covering targets over a 360 degree horizon. The BrahMos missile has an identical configuration for land, sea, and sub-sea platforms. The air-launched version has a smaller booster and additional tail fins for added stability during launch. The BrahMos is currently being configured for aerial deployment with the Su-30MKI as its carrier. On September 5, 2010 BrahMos created a record for the first supersonic steep dive.

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