Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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Russia Plans to Buy BrahMos Air-to-Ground Missiles from India

A real killer

(Photo : BrahMos Aerospace) BrahMos-A

The capabilities of India's BrahMos supersonic cruise missile are such that Russia is showing a strong interest in acquiring the air launched version of this missile, which is faster and harder destroy than similar Russian versions.

Military sources said the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, specifically the Russian Aerospace Forces, will likely purchase the air-to-ground version of BrahMos for its Sukhoi Su-30SM multi-role fighters.

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Russian media said negotiations for the sale should begin in 2017 after the Indian Air Force completes a series of test seeking to validate the capability of Indian Su-30MKI (the Indian version of the Su-30SM) to launch the air-to-ground version of the missile called BrahMos-A (for Air).

India, however, plans to have some of its BrahMos-As armed with nuclear warheads to serve as a deterrent against China and Pakistan. India eventually plans to modify 40 of its jets so these can launch the BrahMos-A nuclear version. An Su-30MKI can carry one BrahMos-A missile.

"The new missile strike system, a plane plus a missile, will be first of all made operational with the Indian Air Force. After that the Russian Air Force, which is very interested, may buy the system," said an unidentified Russian aerospace officer as quoted by Russian media.

Work on the air launched version of BrahMos began some four years ago. Last June 25, a modified Su-30MKI carried a Brahmos-A aloft for the first time, marking an important milestone in the development of the missile ahead of further flights and firing tests.

Tests of the nuclear BrahMos-A are proceeding. The first test of the nuclear missile took place this August and involved a drop test from as Su-30MKI. The final test later in August saw an Su-30MKI fire the missile at a ground target.

A series of tests at Rajashtan's Pokharan firing range will verify the accuracy and efficacy of the Su-30MKI's nuclear missile release system. One more test is expected to take place over the Bay of Bengal in late-November. The missile will be fired at a decommissioned Indian Navy ship.

The Russian Su-30MKI, considered India's most advanced jet fighter, was selected as the delivery vehicle for the BrahMos nuclear missile because the aircraft's titanium airframe and high-strength aluminum alloys can withstand the intense heat that comes with launching a BrahMos.

The jet was further modified by hardening its electronics, enabling the plane to withstand the electromagnetic pulse of a nuclear blast.

Russia is justifiably proud of the reputation created BrahMos since it co-developed the missile with India. BrahMos is a joint venture between the Russia's NPO Mashinostroeyenia and India's Defense Research and Development Organization that together formed BrahMos Aerospace, the maker of the missile.

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