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Watch: India test fires supersonic Brahmos cruise missile from land

Indian Army's BrahMos Mobile Autonomous Launchers (MAL). (Anirvan Shukla/Wikimedia Commons)
December 01, 2020

As India embarks on nonstop missile testing for two months, a pattern has been on notice in regards to India’s most famed missile in the arsenal. Hailed as the fastest cruise missile in operation, Brahmos was tested again today, this time from ground launchers.

Indian forces conducted two live operational firing trials from Andaman Nicobar Archipelago situated in the Indian ocean. Deep southeast of the Indian mainland, it makes up a watchpoint and crucial site for military operations. Andaman Islands are a junction for Indian warships to multiply their reach beyond the Malacca strait and deep in the southern Indian Ocean, making it the most important base of operations for Indian armed forces, as well as a fundamental problem for Chinese warships.

During live firing on Wednesday, the weapon scored a direct and precise hit on the designated target while traveling at mach 2.8-3 velocity in complete trajectory. India used an under-development version of the Brahmos surface-to-surface missile. The trial had the objective of testing the functionalities of air-breathing propulsion on a missile, which enhanced the effective kill range of the weapon as far as 450 kilometers, increasing its hitting envelope by 50%. Since India became a member of MTCR and other control regimes, it has not given a single loose string on increasing the effectiveness of its weapons, which were restricted due to codes of MTCR. Since Brahmos was a joint-venture program of India with Russia, MTCR had restrictions and rules involving barring nations from sharing weapons or technology beyond a 300-kilometer range outside the MTCR paradigm.

India has already demonstrated successful tests of the enhanced variant with a 450-kilometer firing range. This Brahmos has already been trialed on three to four occasions, with 100% success probability.

India and Russia are planning to test an even longer version of BrahMos, with an 800-kilometer range, by the middle of the next year. India aspires to bring Brahmos to its full potential during operability, since India nearly uses it on the available platform, making it a diverse weapon to be fielded in any armed forces with tremendous firepower. Its speed and large warhead make it lethal, but its range was something to be concerned with by Indian planners. India is confident it will create the longest range high supersonic cruise missile other than a hypersonic version dubbed as BRAHMOS II, which is also under development.