May 16, 2012

INS Teg Platform for BrahMos Test in Baltic - and what of 3M-54 Klub Sizzler?

A Talwar Class Frigate which might be INS Teg

 Possible configuration of BrahMos at initial launch stage - the "cap" might stabilise the missile's attitude during vertical launch.

Artists conception of Klub "Sizzler" missile - not necessarily a  3M-54 Klub 
The Russia and India Report, December 1, 2011 reported: "The Russian-Indian joint sea-launched BrahMos cruise missile was successfully tested in the Baltic Sea on Wednesday, November 30."

The ship platform for the test was the Indian frigate INS Teg. Teg is one of three Russian Talwar Class (Project 11356) frigates designed and under completion by Russia for the Indian Navy. Teg is due for delivery by January 2012 followed by INS Tarkash and INS Tikand for delivery by late 2012 and 2013 respectively. The three ships will all carry BrahMos as their main anti-ship missile. Three earlier ships of the Talwar Class already delivered by Russia sport the SS-N-27 3M-54 Klub (or Club) "Sizzler" missile.

Another version of the BrahMos is under development for submarine launch by India's six Scorpene subs currently under long delayed construction. Note that the conventional Russian subs (Kilo Class) known as Sindhughosh Class in Indian service were retrofitted with the Klub-S (submarine version of the 3M-54 Klub)

Russia and India Report indicates "BrahMos cruise missiles have been adopted by India's Army and the Navy' s surface ships. The Indian Air Force has also ordered a batch of land-based missiles. Work is also underway to adapt the missile to Su-30MKI planes used by the Indian Air Force."

My Comments

Russia's announcement of the BrahMos test might perceptually make up for the delay in delivering INS Teg. An earlier October 2011 post on Australia in the Indian Ocean indicated transferral of the three Talwar class frigates to the Indian Navy would now be Teg in April 2012, Tarkash in September 2012, and Trikand in June 2013. "But nobody can guarantee that these terms will not change."

The joint Indo-Russian BrahMos project benefits India in terms of technology transfer as well as reaffirming India's good relations with Russia. India can deepen its research and weapons production base as it develops BrahMos. Although BrahMos is largely derived from Russia's SS-N-26 P-800 Oniks/Onyx/Yakhont India's contribution to the BrahMos project might tend to optimise BrahMos for Indian mission profiles and perhaps make BrahMos more technically flexible for export.

Its interesting that the BrahMos in the surface naval role for INS Teg, Tarkash and Trikand will be in place of the 3M-54 Klub (or Club) "Sizzler" fitted to the earlier three ships of the Talwar Class (already delivered to India).  The 3M-54 Klub "Sizzler" is highly capable, particularly in terms of evasive manoeuvrability - perhaps not a strong characteristic of BrahMos. Perhaps the benefits of BrahMos being made in India and optimised for India outweigh the strengths of 3M-54 Klub "Sizzler" ?

 Perhaps also an enemy carrier group might be harder pressed to counter a combination of BrahMos AND  3M-54 Klub "Sizzlers" than one missile type?

Russia meanwhile may benefit from reverse technology transfer in terms of Indian developed electronics for BrahMos radar/homing/guidance. It would be a considerable future achievement if several BrahMos when fired at a target like a carrier taskforce could electronically interact to present the greatest collective threat to a (probably Chinese) carrier and its escorts.