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BRAHMOS: The most sophisticated cruise missile in the world

Dr. AS Pillai, CEO & MD, BrahMos Aerospace showcasing the production strategy to Sh. AK Antony, Honb'le Defence Minister of India.

BRAHMOS is not just transfer of technology but mutual production & upgradation of technology so as to ensure that country become self-sufficient in supersonic strategic missile capacity. Excerpts from an exclusive interview with Dr. AS Pillai published in the Super India Financial News (SIFN).

Would you please tell us about BRAHMOS supersonic cruise missile?

Dr. AS Pillai: BRAHMOS is a precision strike weapon for Army, Navy, Airforce. This universal missile can be fitted in ships, Mobile Launchers, Submarines and Aircrafts. The target can be any large value installation on ground, sea or shore.

The missile has flight range of up to 290-km with supersonic speed all through, leading to shorter flight time, consequently ensuring lower dispersion of targets, quicker engagement time and non-interception by any known weapon system.

It operates on 'Fire and Forget Principle' adopting varieties of flight trajectories on its way to the target. Its destructive power is enhanced due to large kinetic energy on impact. Its crusing altitude could be upto 15 km and terminal altitude is as low as 10 meters.

It carries a conventional warhead weighing 200 to 300 kgs. Compared to existing state-of-the-art subsonic cruise missiles, BRAHMOS has 3 times more velocity, 2.5 to 3 times more flight range, 3 to 4 times more seeker range & 9 times more kinetic energy.

SIFN: What is the basic aim behind development of supersonic missile?

Dr. AS Pillai: In Gulf war, more than 650 missiles were fired at different targets and 70% could have destroyed important targets deceiving enemy radars. Now there are attempts to intercept these subsonic cruise missiles. Hence it is necessary not to give indication that the missile is coming to targets. This can be done by increasing the speed and stealth characteristics of the missile. Today, India has an edge over other countries.

SIFN: What is the major significance of BRAHMOS missile?

Dr. AS Pillai: It reaches the target fast because of its high speed & secondly, it gives less time to the enemy to react. It creates massive damage due to its super speed because the Kinetic energy is velocity square. BRAHMOS is 9 times more powerful in destroying the targets compared to existing cruise missiles in the world. Indian Army is the only Land Force in the world to have supersonic precision strike cruise missile.

SIFN: When will BRAHMOS be introduced to all the branches of armed forces?

Dr. AS Pillai: Ship based Weapon Complex in Inclined and Vertical configuration & Land Based Weapon Complex with Mobile Autonomous Launchers are already in service with the Navy and Army. In the next two years Airforce will also have BRAHMOS missile. The development of air-launched version Su-30MKI is in progress.

SIFN: What is the basic objective behind taking over KELTEC?

Dr. AS Pillai: We wanted to increase our productive capacity. So, were looking at various options other than Hyderabad due to shortage of space. Kerala govt. approached the defence ministry for them to take over KELTEC. An offer was made to BrahMos and we were ready to take over KELTEC. Government agreed to invest Rs. 125 cr. to KELTEC for supporting BRAHMOS production and for upkeeping the manufacturing capabilities. So KELTEC was transferred as BrahMos Thiruvananthapuram Ltd. After being taken over by BrahMos there has been a total transformation. It is now an ISO 9100 certified aerospace industry, with high level of quality products being manufactured for ISRO, DRDO & BrahMos. Presently some of BrahMos subsystems are being produced there. In the next two years, integration of BRAHMOS missile will be carried out at the complex.

SIFN: What is the current production capacity & what is your future target?

Dr. AS Pillai: This is one of the most successful financial ventures for India and Russia With minimum investment maximum production has been achieved of a globally competitive product. Presently, we have a limited capacity. We are augmenting them to meet the requirements of Indian Armed Forces.

SIFN: Which countries do you want to export BRAHMOS missiles?

Dr. AS Pillai: There are a number of countries which are keen to have BRAHMOS missiles. It is upto the Indian and Russian Governments to decide which countries we can sell.

SIFN: What is your future expansion plan?

Dr. AS Pillai: We are working on many directions including new aerospace products. BRAHMOS-II should be our future prime product.

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