BRAHMOS, the missile joint venture between India and Russia, has an order book of $13 billion, helped by increased demand from other countries including Brazil, South Africa and Chile, a senior defence official said. Named after India’s Brahmaputra river and Russia’s Moscow river, the BrahMos missile can travel at nearly three times the speed of sound and hit targets up to 300 kms away. “The negotiations and ground work to export these missiles to other countries have started. The export of BrahMos will start once the requirements of Indian defence are met”, said a senior defence official speaking on condition of anonymity. On its part, India has already placed $3 billion of missile orders including ground systems and receivers with BrahMos for the next 7-8 years. “It is the best missile, simple but universal. We are working along with state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) labs and public sector undertakings(PSUs) such as DRDL and Bharat Earth Movers (BEML). Private players such as Larsen & Toubro and Godrej are also collaborating for the project”, said Alexander B Maksichev, deputy general director at NPO Mashinostroyenia and managing director at Brah-Mos Aerospace said. “BrahMos is moving in a new direction with airborne missile version,” he added.
The supersonic cruise missile system has also caught attention because it has been developed at a low-cost budget of $300 million. The system jointly built by India’s DRDO and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroeyenia can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft or land. The missiles will also be exported to the Russian military, which has shown interest in the Air-borne version, the defence official said. “The air-launched version includes a missile which can be dropped from an altitude of 3,000 km from a Russian aircraft or any fighter jet. It can then find the target on its own with the help of a computer”, the defence official said.
There are 60,000 cruise missiles worldwide, most of them were developed during 1970’s. Now many countries want to upgrade their missile systems, which has increased demand for BrahMos missiles, the official quoted earlier added. BrahMos is capable of carrying conventional as well as nuclear warheads, with a payload of 200-300 kg. The test of air-launched version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile is expected to take place in 2012, said Dr Apathukatha Sivathanu Pillai, chief executive, BrahMos Aerospace, at Bangalore Space Expo 2010. He said the Indian Air Force has chosen the Su-30MKI fighter aircraft as the launch platform for the BrahMos missile. The IAF has also placed orders for land-to-land attack missiles.