Friday, December 3, 2010

BrahMos capability in mountain warfare tested

India's supersonic cruise missile, BrahMos, was successfully flight-tested on Thursday from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, Orissa. The Army executed the launch from its mobile launcher at the ITR at 10.55 a.m.

The mission highlight was the missile performing tricky manoeuvres, rolls and a vertical dive towards the targeted area in the Bay of Bengal even as it flew at a velocity of 2.8 times the speed of sound. It was the missile's Block III version, boasting advanced guidance and upgraded software, that was tested. The flight established the missile's precision strike capability in mountain warfare.

A. Sivathanu Pillai, Chief Controller, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), called it an important mission for the Army, which executed the launch perfectly.

“The DRDO scientists had made a great contribution to the evolution of the new guidance scheme in this missile and it was a textbook launch,” he said. Telemetry and tracking stations and the Naval ships stationed near the target point confirmed the mission's success. The missile travelled its full range of 290 km.

After a vertical take-off, BrahMos performed manoeuvres at different points in its range while cruising at a high altitude at a velocity of Mach 2.8, said Dr. Pillai, who is also the Chief Executive Officer, BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited. He declined to disclose the altitude at which it cruised.

V.K. Saraswat, Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister, described it as “an excellent launch.”

“In terms of speed and accuracy, BrahMos is one of the unparalleled missiles. It is the only supersonic cruise missile in the world today,” he said. “BrahMos has a track record of successive successes both in its ship-launched and ground-launched versions against ship-based and land-based targets.” This was BrahMos' 24 {+t} {+h} launch.

While BrahMos Block-I version is an anti-ship missile, Block-II is an Army version meant for attacking targets on land. The latest Block-III is meant for operations in mountain warfare where the missile has to hit the target with a steep dive, Dr. Pillai said.

Army officers witnessed the launch. Defence Minister A.K. Antony congratulated the DRDO scientists and the Army on the successful test.

The two-stage missile is nine metres long, has a diametre of 70 cm and weighs 3.9 tonnes with the canister. It can carry conventional warheads weighing 300 kg.

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