After the success of the BrahMos missile, India and Russia are gearing up to develop the advanced version called hypersonic BrahMos 2 cruise missile. According to the CEO of the Russian-Indian joint venture Brahmos Aerospace, Sivathanu Pillai, the prototype of the hypersonic BrahMos 2 missile will be ready for flight tests by 2017. BrahMos 2 cruise missile will be capable of flying at speeds of Mach 5-Mach 7.
BrahMos Aerospace has indicated that they have already conducted a series of lab tests at the speed of 6.5 Mach for the BrahMos hypersonic missile. The new hypersonic missile will be made in three variants, vis-à-vis ground-launched, airborne, and sea-launched. The first prototype of the hypersonic BrahMos 2 cruise missile will be ready in five years and the new missiles will be supplied only to India and Russia.
The new hypersonic BrahMos 2 missile will be capable of flying at more than twice the speed of the existing BrahMos missile. The hypersonic missile will need new technologies in materials, electronics, guidance, propulsion and warhead. According to officials, the next generation cruise missile will be based on scramjet technology. The state-run Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) are working on a scramjet for the BrahMos missile.
In March this year, India and Russia held talks to jointly develop the hypersonic cruise missile and agreed on a general outline of the design. It was decided that a joint working group will be created to chalk out the parameters of the missile in cooperation with developers and their respective contribution.
According to the head of the BrahMos Indian-Russian cruise missile program, Praveen Pathak, the intention is to create a weapon which would not differ much from the existing BrahMos missile in weight and dimensions. This way, the weapon can be used in existing launchers on ships or mobile launchers.
Last year, BrahMos Aerospace decided to fund $1 million each to the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and the Moscow Aviation Institute (MAI) for them to work on the hypersonic BrahMos 2 missile project. Sources indicated that the engine will be integrated into the airframe, guidance system and warhead that are to be developed by the IISc-MAI partnership. There will also be an exchange of scientists and engineers between IISc and MAI and the intellectual property of the research will be with BrahMos.
BrahMos Aerospace is currently involved in manufacturing the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles which is based on the Russian-designed NPO Mashinostroyenie 3M55 Yakhont (SS-N-26). With a range of 290 km and the capability to carry a conventional warhead of up to 300 kg, BrahMos cruise missile is three times faster than the US Tomahawk missiles. It can engage targets from an altitude as low as 10 metres and has a top speed of Mach 2.8. The Sea and ground-launched versions of BrahMos missiles have been successfully tested and put into service with the Indian Army and Navy. The flight tests of the airborne version will be completed by the end of 2012.