Even as India is evolving as a great power, economically as well as militarily, it has gained immense expertise in designing and developing state-of-the-art defence systems. This accomplishment has given it entry into an elite club of powerful nations at the global stage having the capability to build their own military platforms and systems. An excellent example of India’s growing military might is the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile system which, with its multi-role capability, universality and utmost lethality has carved a distinct place for itself with Indian Armed Forces. This weapon is the only universal supersonic cruise missile system in the world with the capability of neutralising land or sea-based targets. Today, when speed is considered as one of the major determinants in the outcome of military conflicts, Brahmos, capable of flying at a top speed of around Mach 3 becomes extremely lethal in striking an enemy target in no time. The supersonic speed of the missile also makes it difficult for interception by the enemy’s air defence system.
Induction of the missile in the Indian Armed Forces has rendered the armed forces unmatched potentiality, the weapon has become a mainstay of the Indian Army’s artillery firepower. Similarly, for many of the Navy’s frontline surface ships, Brahmos has been deployed as a prime strike weapon, in its sub-sea launch configuration the super sonic cruise missile is set to increase the Navy’s underwater weapons delivery capability manifold by being armed in the future submarines. On 22 November 2017, a new dimension was added by Brahmos, when an Indian Air Force’s Sukhoi-30MKI after being modified to carry the 2.5-tonne missile integrated with half a tonne launcher was test-fired against a sea-based target in the Bay of Bengal.
With this maiden launch, Brahmos has augmented the IAF’s strike capability and completed the tactical cruise missile triad. The supersonic cruise missile is a unique example of the partnership between India and Russia in critical areas of research and development. The speed, precision and power of Brahmos has proved to the world that a joint venture of advanced technology can lead to a high-performance product in the shortest possible time with far-reaching capabilities. On 22 March 2018, Brahmos missile test-fired the weapon system fitted with an indigenously developed Seeker at Pokhran test range in Rajasthan. This feat has enthused a fresh impetus in the ambitious ‘Make in India’ programme of the Government of India.
The 300-km range missile initially conceived and developed as an anti-ship cruise missile (ASCM) system, has evolved over the years and added many more variants, from sea-to-land, sea-to-sea, land-to-land, land-to-sea, sub-sea-to-land, subsea-to-sea and air-to-land configurations. The missile can be fired either from static, mobile platforms (land and sea) or fighter aircraft, in solo or salvo mode.