|Arthur Dominic Villasanta |||Mar 21, 2017 12:04 PM EDT|
(Photo : BrahMos Aerospace) Maiden launch of Brahmos Extended Range.
The recent successful test of the BrahMos Extended Range (BrahMos ER) supersonic cruise missile brings more targets inside Pakistan and the Line of Actual Control with China within the destructive range of the world's fastest cruise missile.
The maiden flight of BrahMos ER from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Chandipur in Odisha along the Bay of Bengal saw the land attack version of the missile fired at "an electronic target." BrahMos ER has a range of 450 km compared to the 290 km range of the original anti-ship missile (AShM) version.
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The launch from a mobile autonomous launcher (MAL) deployed in full configuration," met all the test parameters," said BrahMos Aerospace Ltd, maker of BrahMos. BrahMos Aerospace is a joint venture between the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) of India and the Federal State Unitary Enterprise NPO Mashinostroyenia (NPOM) of Russia.
"With the successful test firing of the extended range BrahMos, the Indian armed forces will be empowered to knock down enemy targets far beyond 400kms," said BrahMos Aerospace chief Sudhir Mishra, who oversaw the test-firing.
"BrahMos has thus proved its prowess once again as the best supersonic cruise missile system in the world."
The technology upgrade to BrahMos ER came after India gained entry into the 34-nation Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in 2016. India's accession to the MTCR removed the caps on the range of BrahMos, which was developed with the help of Russia.
MTCR prevents the proliferation of missiles and UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) with a range exceeding 300 km.
India in October 2016 announced its intention to more than double the range of BrahMos to over 600 kilometers. The far longer range will also enable BrahMos ER land attack to strike at more People's Liberation Army bases in the interior of Tibet that threaten the Line of Actual Control, especially those bases aimed at the imperiled Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh China claims is part of Tibet.
One of the biggest drawbacks to BrahMos is its paltry range of just 290 km. That drawback was imposed because Russia, the co-builder of the missile, was a member of the MTCR at the time BrahMos was being developed in the 1990s and India wasn't.
The Pakistani military is justifiably worried about BrahMos. One of its websites described the Indian missile as "stealthy, fast and extremely difficult to shoot down."
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