BrahMos to develop first hypersonic cruise missile in 5 years

Dr. Silvatanu Pillai, CEO & MD of BrahMos, a joint venture between the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) of India and the Federal State Unitary Enterprise NPO Mashinostroyenia (NPOM) of Russia, gave interview to the correspondent of Pravda.Ru at IMDS-2007.

Reference: The BrahMos is a supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft or land. It is a joint venture between India's Defense Research and Development Organization and Russia's NPO Mashinostroeyenia who have together formed the Brahmos Corp. Propulsion is based on the Russian Yakhont missile, and guidance has been developed by Brahmos Corp. At speeds of Mach 2.5 to 2.8, is about three times faster than the American subsonic Tomahawk cruise missile.

The BrahMos has been developed as a joint venture between the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) of India and the Federal State Unitary Enterprise NPO Mashinostroyenia (NPOM) of Russia under BrahMos Aerospace. The missile is named after two rivers, the Brahmaputra and the Moskva.

Pravda.Ru: Dr. Pillai, how do you assess the 3rd Naval Salon in St. Petersburg and what are the objectives of BrahMos here?

Dr. Pillai: Russian naval salon is very important for BrahMos. The exhibition gathers all major companies of the naval shipbuilding and we are determined to emphasize our presence among the world’s leaders. Secondly, we are an Indian-Russian joint venture, we have a lot of traditional partners in Russia and just like any other Russian company we ought to be here. And finally traditional buyers of Russian arms come to Russian military exhibitions looking for the latest offers. BrahMos offers the world’s best supersonic missile not only to the Armed Forces of India and Russia, but also to other nations.

Pravda.Ru: As far as we know there is a list of countries coordinated and approved by the governments of India and Russia to which BRAHMOS missiles can be exported. How many countries are there in this list?

Dr. Pillai: I would not be able to say about the exact number of countries in the list. We are constantly working with the potential customers. There are nations which are keen to have BrahMos missiles and which are not in the list today. In such cases we apply to the governments for their permission to make the deals with the new customers. So this list may grow. It can also become shorter depending on the situation. According to the international agreements arms are not sold to the countries in conflict. We are keen to upkeep long lasting stability in the regions where we sell our missiles.

Pravda.Ru: You exhibit different versions of the missiles based on all possible platforms. Could you specify the technical readiness of each system?

Dr. Pillai: Today Indian-Russian joint venture BrahMos is offering the world’s best anti-ship supersonic cruise missile. This is not a marketing exaggeration, because it can be proved technically. This is also recognized by the independent experts. Today several nations have cruise missiles, but all of them are subsonic.Weare the first in the world to offer a supersonic cruise missile.

But it would have been wrong to offer just one type of the missile. The ship based version of BRAHMOS is commissioned with the Indian Navy and totally ready for the international market. It is 100% tested. It can be used on literally any class of ships in whatever number: 2 missiles, 15 missiles, 32 and 40, depending on the platform. Technically it is possible to have any number of the missiles on board a ship. These missiles are in serial production. We decided to make a comprehensive offer to our customers suggesting all possible versions of the missile.

We have also developed a shore based complex. After this the representatives of the Armed Forces decided that if the complex can efficiently hit targets in the direction of the sea, it should also have the opportunity to hit the ground based targets on land. BrahMos created such complex and it is already delivered to the Indian Army. Indian ground based missile complexes are based on Tatra chassis, because this vehicle is made in India under license, however, it can me mantled on any other chassis at the request of a client. So BrahMos can offer ready solutions to operate the missile ship-to-ship, land-to-ship, land-to-sea, land-to-land, ship to land also possible. These are the spheres where BRAHMOS’ characteristics are superior to other equivalents.

Today BrahMos is developing the missiles complexes for aircraft and submarines. This work goes according to the schedule and in 2 years BrahMos will be ready to suggest all possible versions of the supersonic cruise missiles.

Pravda.Ru: Today Armed Forces in the world do not have hypersonic cruise missiles. How is your work on the hypersonic cruise missile?

Dr. Pillai: Joint Venture is working on the hypersonic cruise missile and we are keen to develop the world’s first hypersonic cruise missile. All legal and organizational matters between the governments and the companies-participants of the two nations are being formulated. A joint team is formed and we have jointly arrived at the technical specifications. In 5-6 years the missile will be ready.

One should not stop on today’s achievements. Yes, today we have a missile with unique characteristics, but we also look into the future. The work on the hypersonic missile is not just the race for technical superiority. This is also a marketing instrument. Our customers see that we are working on the cutting edge technologies and they know they can trust the products we offer.

Pravda.Ru: Do you think Russian Armed Forces also can commission BRAHMOS missiles?

Dr. Pillai: Yes. I am seeing Russia is building new corvettes and destroyers and there is very good chance of BrahMos being integrated into these new ships.

Pravda.Ru: How many missiles are being produced and what is the production share of India and Russia?

Dr. Pillai: We are following an ambitious marketing program. According to our evaluations the total market for BRAHMOS missiles accounts for at least 1000 units, including those to be commissioned in Russia and India.

Yuri Seleznev

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Author`s name Alex Naumov