by Staff Correspondent
In a rapidly altering global geopolitical scene, it is imperative for strategy to be coordinated with gadgetry coupled with steely resolve of the men who control war machines.
The past decades witnessed numerous laudable advancements in defence technology development with a phenomenal surge in missile tech. Significant endeavours vis-a-vis research and development of numerous state-of-the-art military systems are progressing at an unprecedented pace leading to the objective of achieving self-reliance in defence production.
The missile capability of the Indian Armed Forces received a major shot in the arm from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) consequent to commencement of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) – a brainchild of world-renowned scientist Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam – followed by development of the BRAHMOS supersonic cruise missile.
Realising the crucial requirement for indigenous technology, India opted for the ‘hypersonic route’ to develop the BRAHMOS – the first of its kind in the world! The success of the project proved beyond a vestige of doubt to the world that a joint venture in the highly- demanding advanced technology sphere can lead to a high-performance product in the shortest possible time and with far-reaching capabilities. The missile is the output of a JV between DRDO and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyeniya, who joined hands to create BrahMos Aerospace.
BRAHMOS – the pride of India’s defence sector – is among the fastest supersonic cruise missiles in existence. It hurtles towards the enemy at dizzying speeds ranging from Mach 2.5 to 2.8 and can be rapidly launched from submarines, ships, aircraft or land. The weapon system is not only rendering our Armed Forces more capable and deadly but also setting a precedent in the region vis-a-vis technological advancement.
The naval and land variants were inducted by the Navy in 2005 and the Army in 2007 respectively. An air-launched variant was successfully tested in November 2017 from the Air Force’s Sukhoi Su-30MKI multi-role combat fighter, thereby making the missile a force to reckon with in all three domains.
The unalloyed success of the BRAHMOS land attack projectile, with an indigenously-developed seeker, proved beyond reasonable doubt the prowess of the indigenous development programme for tactical missiles and also ushered in fresh impetus with regard to the ambitious ‘Make in India’ and the AatmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyan initiated by the government.
Expeditious innovations have paved the way for accelerated development allowing major countries to expand their arsenals by creating advanced cruise missiles with hypersonic capabilities.
The BRAHMOS has established itself as an excellent tactical weapon having no parallel among precision strike weapons. Possession of the powerful missile has emboldened and sharpened the fighting capability of the Indian Armed Forces. The globe’s sole supersonic cruise missile with unique features has provided the defence personnel a distinct prowess to vanquish any foe in the contemporary combat scene.
The Indian Army is the only land force to be equipped with a supersonic weapon boasting surgical strike potentiality. The mobile land-based configuration of the BRAHMOS has notched up several advancements over the years in the form of Block I, Block II and Block III variants with each having its own distinct potentiality to annihilate targets. The Block III version has advanced guidance and upgraded software incorporating high manoeuvres at multiple points and steep dive from high altitude.
The speedy, extended-range BRAHMOS is vital to naval warfare in this age of long-range anti-ship weaponry. Modern-day naval assets are required to swiftly adapt to an unprecedented range of roles and scenarios when survival hinges on a matter of seconds. It is understood that they must be equipped with rapid and flexible weapon systems that enable a lightning-fast response. One of the most powerful ‘arrows’ in the Navy’s ‘quiver’ is undisputedly the BRAHMOS.
The missile is operational on all front-line naval platforms and can be fired from vertical and inclined launchers alike. The BRAHMOS as the prime strike weapon will ensure the warship’s invincibility by engaging long-range surface targets. The canisterised submarine version is launched vertically. BRAHMOS installation in subs shall certainly increase manifold the vessels’ ‘offensive power’ without compromising ‘defensive power’ as the torpedo tubes can be fully utilised for protection.
The successful test firing of the projectile from the front-line Su-30MKI provides a major deterrence against aggression. The missile, equipped with inertial navigation and global positioning systems, can effectively engage ground targets from an altitude as low as 10 m for surgical strikes! It is the sole projectile possessing this advanced ability thereby providing an edge to the user with a precise hit.
The BRAHMOS Air-Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM), after undergoing a series of successful launches from the Su-30MKI platform, was made part of the Indian Air Force’s Tigersharks Squadron.
Tigersharks 222 – comprising Su-30 MKI jets – is tasked with an air dominance and maritime role. The squadron is perceived as nothing short of a “game changer” vis-à-vis guarding the strategically vital Indian Ocean Region.