The Indo-Russian aerospace joint venture BrahMos Aerospace has announced that it has ventured into the project to develop a hypersonic BrahMos cruise missile. The CEO of BrahMos Dr. A Sivathanu Pillai, has indicated that the target is to reach a speed of Mach 7 with the hypersonic missile. Besides the hypersonic missile, the BrahMos family of missiles will soon launch a submarine version as well.
Speaking during a lecture on Self-reliance in Aerospace Technologies, BrahMos CEO Sivathanu Pillai stated that aerospace is venturing into the hypersonic world where speed is power and the BrahMos hypersonic missile aims to reach a speed of Mach 7. The hypersonic version of BrahMos missile will have a scramjet engine in place of a ramjet.
As for the hypersonic missile that can fly seven times the speed of sound, the R&D will be carried out by the Centre of Excellence in High Speed Aerodynamics at the Indian Institute of Science and the Moscow Aviation Institute. A host of technologies would be needed to achieve hypersonic speeds, Dr. Pillai said. New materials, including those having nano characteristics and "self-healing” properties, would be required.
BrahMos CEO Sivathanu Pillai added that while the work on the air launch version of the missile has been completed, the BrahMos family of missiles is soon slated to have a submarine version as well. The work on launch of submarine variant of supersonic cruise missile BrahMos was in the final stages. The submarine-based version of the BrahMos Russian-Indian missile will be launched for the first time in Oct-Nov, 2012.
The upcoming launch will be an important stage in the BrahMos program development because after that test Indian Navy will decide whether to arm India’s prospective non-nuclear submarines with these missiles. The first launch of the submarine-adapted missile version by underwater testing platform will occur in a couple of months from now.
Meanwhile, Russia has indicated that the new Amur subs being offered to India have the capability to launch these weapons. Chief of NPO Mashinostroyeniya (NPOM) Corporation Alexander Leonov has stated that St. Petersburg-based Central Naval Design Bureau "Rubin" has already worked out options for the deployment of BrahMos missiles on the new "Amur-1650" conventional submarine being offered to India. NPOM is equity partner in the Indo-Russian BrahMos Aerospace joint venture.
Currently, the BrahMos missile is the only operational supersonic cruise missile in the world service and it has been inducted into the Indian Navy and Army. It has a range of 300 km and can fly at a speed of Mach 3. Its speed is three times that of the Tomahawk missiles used by the U.S. armed forces.
BrahMos Aerospace is an Indo-Russian joint venture setup with an investment of $ 300 million. So far, it has made a business of $ 4 billion and expects to make about $ 10 billion. Several Indian companies, including Larsen & Toubro and the Godrej Group, are involved in the production of the missile. As for exports, these will commence only after the requirements of Indian armed forces have been met.