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India has carried out successful firing test of air-launched BrahMos supersonic cruise missile


According to information published by Indian media newspapers on October 30, 2020, the Indian air force has carried out a successful firing test of air-launched BrahMos-A supersonic cruise missile from Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter aircraft. The missile reaches a ship target in the Bay of Bengal around 4,000 km away.

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India has carried out successful firing test of air launched BrahMos supersonic cruise missile 925 001 Indian Air Force Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter aircraft armed with Brahmos supersonic cruise missile. (Picture source Financial Express)


Citing the Opindia website, the Indian air Force Sukhoi-30 MKI took off from Halwara airbase in Punjab, which was refueled mid-air before it launched the missile toward the target in Bay of Bengal. This is the second time that the missile has been successfully test-fired from an aircraft. The jet involved in the test was a Su-30 MKI from the Thanjavur-based Tigersharks squadron.

The BrahMos-A is a modified air-launched variant of the Brahmos missile with a range of 500 km which can be launched from a Sukhoi Su-30MKI as a standoff weapon.

To reduce the missile's weight to 2.55 tons, many modifications were made like using a smaller booster, adding fins for airborne stability after launch, and relocating the connector. It can be released from the height of 500 to 14,000 meters (1,640 to 46,000 ft). After release, the missile free falls for 100–150 meters, then goes into a cruise phase at 14,000 meters and finally the terminal phase at 15 meters.

The Sukhoi Su-30MKI (NATO code name Flanker-H) is a twin-engine multirole air superiority fighter developed by Russia's Sukhoi and built under license by India's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force (IAF). A Su-30MKI is able to only carry one BrahMos missile.

The first Russian-made Su-30MKI variant was accepted into the Indian Air Force in 2002, while the first Su-30MKI assembled in India entered service with the IAF in 2004. The IAF has nearly 260 Su-30MKIs in inventory as of January 2020. The Su-30MKI is expected to form the backbone of the Indian Air Force's fighter fleet to 2020 and beyond.

India has already test-fired Brahmos missile from a Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter aircraft against a sea target, in December 2019. The missile was first flight tested from a Sukhoi Su-30MKI in November 2017 over the Bay of Bengal. Today, forty Su-30 MKIs of the Indian Air Force are retrofitted to carry the 2.5-ton Brahmos supersonic cruise missile.