Ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit slated for early next month, India's top security panel has approved the purchase of Invar missile for its army's Russian-origin T-90 tanks from Russia and air version of the BrahMos missiles for its air force, both worth over Rs.8000 crore ($1.6 billion).
The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), the highest security related decision making body headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, gave its nod to the proposals to buy 10,000 Invar missile and 200 BrahMos air-launched missiles at its meeting, sources said.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) proposal for BrahMos involves sanctioning of funds for the integration and testing of the missile on the Russian-origin Su-30MKI of the IAF, they said.
A supersonic missile that can touch 2.8 Mach speeds, BrahMos has already been inducted into the Indian Navy and the Indian Army.
BrahMos air version will be lighter than both the naval and army versions, as it has to be integrated into the already heavy plane. Both the missile and the aircraft are going through design modifications to enable the Sukhois to carry the missiles on underbelly pods.
The first live tests of the missiles on a Sukhoi are expected in December. Two Su-30MKI of the IAF would also be modified by the HAL at its Nashik facility where they will also be integrated with the aerial launcher developed by the BrahMos, they said.
At the recent Defence minister-level meeting between India and Russia on October 10, Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov had said: "We are working on making 1,000 BrahMos missiles for India.”
The CCS also cleared an Rs 2,000-crore ($400 million) proposal to tide over the crippling shortage of tank ammunition, by giving the nod to buy Invar missiles for the Russian-origin T-90 tanks.
The Invar missile can be fired from the barrel of the T-90 tanks. Though the Army had projected its demand for 20,000 Invar missiles, the CCS nod came only for 10,000 of these missiles, sources said.
Under the army proposal, 10,000 Invar missiles would be procured from Russian manufacturers whereas the remaining would be license-produced by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) under the transfer of technology (ToT) agreement.