Why the IAF’s BrahMos cruise missile is a gamechanger in the Indo-Pacific
- The air-launched missile is the IAF's most powerful and heaviest weapon.
- India's plan to station supersonic Sukhoi jets in southern India is primarily motivated by a desire to keep an eye on China, which just opened its first overseas naval base in Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) staged a “live shooting” of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from a Su30-MKI fighter plane last week.
According to the Indian Air Force, the missile targeted a decommissioned Indian Navy ship. The drill was carried out in “tight collaboration” with the Indian Navy.
The air-launched missile is the IAF’s most powerful and heaviest weapon.
In order to improve the IAF’s air capability, the administration moved to incorporate the BrahMos jet with Sukhoi fighter jets in 2016. At the Thanjavur airbase in Tamil Nadu, the Indian Air Force inducted the first Sukhoi-30MKI fighter aircraft squadron.
BrahMos is a two-stage missile, according to BrahMos Aerospace, featuring a solid propellant booster engine as the first stage that propels it to supersonic speed before being separated.
In cruise mode, the liquid ramjet, or second stage, accelerates the missile closer to 3 Mach.
The missile is equipped with stealth technology and a complex embedded software guidance system, giving it unique capabilities.
The missile maintains supersonic speed throughout its flight, resulting in a shorter flight time and, as a result, lower target dispersion, faster engagement time, and non-interception by any known weapon system on the planet.
Sukhoi jets are the second frontline fighter squadron to be located in south India, according to the Indian Air Force.
The latest Sukhoi planes are equipped with the BrahMos cruise missiles, which were developed in-house.
The IAF stated earlier this month that the 222 Squadron – Tigersharks – would be resurrected with the Sukhois.
The deployment of elite fighter jets in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) will provide India with a strategic advantage in the central maritime expanse, which straddles three continents.
The Sukhoi fighters will be armed with a 2.5-ton air-launched BrahMos missile with a target range of over 300 kilometres, providing the Indian Air Force with devastating weaponry.
India’s plan to station supersonic Sukhoi jets in southern India is primarily motivated by a desire to keep an eye on China, which just opened its first overseas naval base in Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa. China has constructed Asia’s largest port in Djibouti in order to gain control of the Indian Ocean region.
The “Tigersharks” can also keep an eye on China’s presence in Sri Lankan waters, as India seeks stronger military ties with the emerald island to offset China’s growing influence.
India must also maintain a close check on the Karachi port, which serves as a significant strategic military station for Pakistan’s military.
With the deployment of the new super jets, the Indian Air Force intends to create a paradigm change. The planes are likely to give the Indian Ocean region, which has a large Chinese presence, a new striking capability.
Surprisingly, the Sukhoi’s will play a key “maritime role,” thanks to the jet’s improved ability to launch attacks in all weather situations, even at night.
The Sukhoi 30 MKI was originally built by Russia, but is presently manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd in India (HAL).
Russia gave India permission to produce the jets in 2004, with the new generation Sukhoi fighters slated to be the IAF’s backbone in the coming decade.