India test-fires supersonic cruise missile
India's military Tuesday tested a surface-to-surface version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile which it had developed jointly with Russia.The missile was fired from the Pokhran range in the western desert state of Rajasthan, bordering Pakistan, that was also the site of India's nuclear tests in 1998.
The Army on Tuesday tested the land-attack version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from a firing range near Pokhran in Rajasthan, in a move to fine-tune its use as a precision-strike weapon in future battles.
This comes shortly after the air-breathing missile, with a strike range of 290-km, was tested for the first time from a vertical launcher fitted on a moving warship in the Bay of Bengal on December 18.
``The test was successful, meeting all parameters,'' said a defence ministry official.
Incidentally, the Army has begun the progressive induction of its BrahMos LACM (land-attack cruise missile) version, with the first battery being handed over to it in June 2007.
Army plans to progressively induct three batteries, each with four road-mobile autonomous launchers on 12x12 Tatra vehicles, to constitute its first BrahMos regiment shortly to use the missile as a "precision strike weapon''.
Last month's launch of BrahMos, which flies at a speed of 2.8 Mach (almost three times the speed of sound), took place from a vertical launcher fitted on Rajput-class destroyer INS Ranvir. The missile has already been fitted "in an inclined configuration'' on destroyer INS Rajput.
The "universal vertical launcher'' used on December 18 is significant since it is fitted under the warship's deck, protecting it from the atmospheric conditions and imparting some stealth to the weapon system, and allows the missile to be fired in any direction.
"Eight missiles come in one such launcher module. Two such modules, with 16 missiles, will be fitted in each of the three Kolkata-class P-15A destroyers being built at Mazagon Docks (at a cost of Rs 11,662 crore),'' said a source.
Three more Talwar-class "stealth'' guided-missile frigates being built at Yantar shipyard in Kaliningrad (Russia), at a cost of Rs 5,514 crore, will also be armed with BrahMos missiles to give them more punch. "The same vertical launchers will be fitted on submarines,'' said the source.