THE stage is set for crucial developmental test of an extended-range version of supersonic cruise missile BrahMos. The world-class nuclear capable missile with advanced seeker software is likely to be test-fired from a defence base off the Odisha coast on Saturday. This is the first test of the missile after its strike range was extended following India’s entry in Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). The strike range of the new BrahMos missile has been enhanced from 290 km to 450 km. Defence sources said the missile will be tested from the launching complex-IV of Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Abdul Kalam Island. Jointly developed by India and Russia, the missile has the capability to fly at a speed of Mach 2.8.
Since it is a joint venture project, the range of more than 300 km was forbidden for non-MTCR countries. Scientists from Russia have been camping here along with scientists of BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited (BAPL). The weapon system will be fired from a mobile launcher (MAL), which is an autonomous vehicle having its own communication, power supply and fire control system.
The test is aimed at gauging the efficiency of the weapon system’s superior version which is incorporated with an advanced seeker software having target discriminating capabilities. The missile, having such capabilities, can distinguish a particular target from a group of targets. A defence official said another version of the missile with a strike range of 800 km is under development. BrahMos variants can be launched from land, air, sea and under water. The missile can effectively engage ground targets from an altitude as low as 10 metres for surgical strikes at terror training camps across the border without causing collateral damage.