By Kamal Shah
In an exclusive interaction with IA&D, BrahMos Aerospace’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Joshi, spoke about the company’s major milestones, contributions to India’s strategic arsenal along with its ‘Make in India’ and ‘Make for World’ ambitions.
Q. How is the new leadership shaping up at BAPL?
Ans: Indeed, the appointments of CEO and Dy CEO at BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited (BAPL) have come at a very important time when we, under the visionary leadership of Honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, are moving forward in the direction of building an Atma Nirbhar and Shashakt Bharat. The Government has taken several policy initiatives to promote self-reliance in defence manufacturing for making the country a global manufacturing hub in defence.
Our long-standing association with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), synergistic efforts with academia, industries, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) and the Armed Forces have played a crucial role in shaping up the highly successful BrahMos Joint Venture (JV) in partnership with Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyenia (NPOM). We have excellent scientists and engineers and now, team BrahMos would focus on further strengthening our capabilities and accelerate efforts towards cutting edge developments steering BAPL to greater heights. We intend to further harness the capabilities of our private industry, inculcate robust quality culture and unleash new growth potential in the defence sector.
Q. As part of the new management team, could you highlight a few of your plans for taking BrahMos Aerospace forward?
Ans: BrahMos is one of the most successful programmes. It has achieved many incredible milestones since its inception in 1998. We now aim to leapfrog and take this programme to new frontiers of technological developments as well as consolidating our gains. As a testimony to our benchmark technological strengths and manufacturing capabilities, we have achieved our first milestone in this direction by signing the export contract with the Philippines on January 28, 2022.
It is a historic achievement for BAPL and a promising forward-looking strategy to supply the universal BrahMos weapon system to third-party friendly nations and strongly position India as a major weapon exporting nation in the world. For our entire team, it is a very defining moment that will drive us further to work collectively and more dedicatedly to deliver our best. Our other long-term plans include design and development of a futuristic BrahMos-NG (Next Generation) missile system; expansion of BrahMos production centres including the upcoming Lucknow manufacturing centre in the Uttar Pradesh Defence Industrial Corridor (UP DIC); indigenisation of the weapon system; on-schedule delivery to our armed forces.
Q. Within a few days of the government appointing new leadership at BAPL, India witnessed the first-ever export order of BrahMos. What’s the BAPL leadership’s plan to take the export success story forward? Are a few more such orders in the pipeline? Could we see a few more export orders in the near future?
Ans: In recent times, the Govt has initiated many reforms/steps to boost defence exports. BrahMos is a game-changer weapon system and significantly boosts the defence capabilities of any nation. Undoubtedly the BrahMos export deal is a watershed moment for us. It is for the very first time that India is going to deliver a modern, full-scale, state-of-the-art weapon system to a foreign customer nation.
It drives the essence of Make in India and Make for the World and we are confident that BAPL in close coordination with DRDO and all stakeholders will definitely take this success story forward. A number of friendly countries in Asia, Latin America and other regions have shown keen interest in the export of BrahMos and we are in discussions. With many Govt initiatives for strengthening defence exports, we are very hopeful and confident to clinch more export orders for BrahMos in near future.
Q. Now, having secured the first export order, could you please explain to our readers about the ‘post-sale product support’ provided by BAPL to the Indian military and customer country?
Ans: Being one of the leading defence and aerospace organisations, BAPL has put in place a very dedicated, proactive post-sale product support team with a clear mandate. This team plans and coordinates all the activities related to advance stocking of critical components, management of spares, management of life-cycle of all sub-systems etc. It also carries out repair and maintenance work of already delivered weapons and related systems. The Indian Armed Forces being our biggest customer, we have been providing them with a complete solution which includes custom-made handling and testing, training and documentation and lifetime maintenance support among other requisite services. We are committed to provide seamless support and comprehensive solutions under one roof to all our customers.
Q. Since BrahMos involves a few other Indian companies too, how big of a booster is it for those Indian companies who also have their share and support in manufacturing BrahMos? How has their reaction to the order from the Philippines been? Also, do you see this export order creating a more extensive base from the manufacturing and further developing BrahMos points of view?
Ans: The BrahMos export order has come as a major fillip for the Indian defence industry and for all our small, medium, large industrial partners and entities which have been closely associated with the BrahMos JV since long. The JV has played a pivotal role in establishing a robust ‘Military Industrial Consortium’ (MIC) in India. The industry partners are the pillars behind the success of BrahMos.
The first export order has come at a very crucial time paving the way for continuous, sustainable workflow for us and for all our industry partners in the long run. It has immensely bolstered India’s vision for ‘Make In India’ and ‘Make for the World’. This export order is surely going to create a larger and wider manufacturing base for BrahMos and for all its future development work.
Q. How important and supportive were the policies and role played by the Govt of India in ensuring the first-ever export order of BrahMos from the Philippines?
Ans: In the past few years, the Govt of India formulated and effectively implemented several major policy decisions, one of which is promoting defence exports to friendly and responsible foreign nations. The present export deal with the Philippines has followed after the Govt of India and the Govt of Philippines in March 2021 signed an ‘Implementing Arrangement’ for ‘procurement of defence material and equipment’. That agreement laid the groundwork for the export of supersonic BrahMos, through the government-to-government route. It is a historic decision and a very bold move to export a weapon of such calibre.
Q. For the benefit of IA&D’s foreign military and policy readers abroad, could you please explain how formidable a weapon system is the BrahMos, especially in carrying out a precision strike?
Ans: BrahMos is the world’s fastest and deadliest state-of-the-art precision attack weapon. This ‘universal’ missile is actively deployed with the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force. BrahMos Aerospace, the defence JV entity involving India’s DRDO and Russia’s NPOM, has successfully designed, developed, tested and delivered the very powerful supersonic cruise missile system in land-to-land, land-to-sea, sea-to-land, sea-to-sea, air-to-sea and air-to-land configurations to the Indian Armed Forces. Since its maiden successful test-firing conducted on June 12, 2001, the formidable weapon system has undergone nearly 100 test firings from land, sea and air platforms to date with high success rate.
The missile has established its impeccable land-attack and anti-ship capabilities in day and night, all-weather conditions. It has also validated its ‘salvo’ attack capability to detect and engage a single or different target in various trajectories in the quickest possible time, thus enabling a military to launch joint, back-to-back, surprise attacks on strongly fortified enemy positions from stand-off ranges. The unique combination of supersonic speed, pin-point accuracy, high manoeuvrability and deadly firepower makes BrahMos what it is – a very powerful deterrent system.
It is a powerful system which can be deployed onto many military platforms for carrying out different missions in divergent conflict situations. From land warfare to littoral and high sea missions to modern air combat operations, BrahMos has clearly established its credence as the ‘ultimate weapon of choice’ for the modern-day military of a nation and fortifies the deterrent power of a nation.