June 6, 2012

Brahmos vertically launched in Bay of Bengal

1st Published December 27, 2008

A BrahMos supersonic cruise missile lifts off the universal vertical launcher onboard the Indian Navy's Kashin II-class destroyer INS Ranvir. Photo originated here. Click on photo to get vivid, clear, expansion.
Here are the many previous articles on Australia by the Indian Ocean concerning BrahMos.
Now that a Christmas is over I can report on the Vertical Launch System (VLS) test at sea of India's BrahMos missile: Rediff reported December 18, 2008:

"New Brahmos variant successfully tested"

A BrahMos supersonic cruise missile with a strike-range of 290 km was on Thursday successfully test-fired in a vertical launch configuration for the first time by the Indian Navy.

With this launch, BrahMos has become the world's first and only supersonic cruise missile capable of being launched from both vertical and inclined positions from naval platforms.

"BrahMos missile was successfully test fired in vertical-launch configuration from an Indian Navy ship in the Bay of Bengal on Thursday," Defence Ministry sources said in New Delhi.
The test, the sources said, was carried out at noon from a moving Rajdoot class warship. The vertical launcher used in the test has been designed and developed by the Indo-Russian joint venture BrahMos Corporation."The test has proved and demonstrated the new universal vertical launcher designed and developed by the Corporation," they said, adding, "The mission objectives of the test were fully achieved."

The launch, carried out in presence of senior Navy officers and DRDO scientists, will give a boost to the future deployment of BrahMos in the naval platforms, they said."This will give a boost to ongoing programme of future ship installation for the missile.

It will be installed in vertical launch configuration in all the future ships of the Indian Navy. This will include the both ships under construction and the ones who come back to shipyards for refurbishment," the sources added.

Indian Navy's second line of Talwar Class ships, under construction in Russia's Kaliningrad Shipyard, will also be equipped with new universal vertically launcher modules. "Indian Navy's second line of Talwar Class ships, known as the 1135.6 Class in Russia, will also have these vertical launchers," the sources said.

BrahMos has already been inducted in INS Rajput ship in inclined configuration ..."


In an article of December 23, 2008, remarkably well informed Hari Sud of UPI reported:

"Toronto, ON, Canada, — China and Pakistan should pay attention to India’s newest anti-ship missile, the BrahMos. It is an anti-ship missile with a 660-pound warhead. It has a highly sophisticated ramjet engine, which speeds a three-ton missile to its target at Mach-3 speed.

In its initial flight trajectory it hugs the sea, making it impossible for jet fighters, anti-missile systems and rapid firing guns to stop it. In its terminal phase, it rises up to the sky and then drops on its prey like a giant harpoon. The missile’s high speed causes extensive damage to a ship on impact and the 660 pounds of explosives it carries cause the rest of the damage.
It can also be described as a sea-denial missile – denying an enemy access to the sea it defends.
The missile, originally called the Yakhont (or P-800 Oniks), was designed by the Soviets to kill U.S. aircraft carriers 200 miles away. In 1991 the United States expressed concern about its development and Russian President Boris Yeltsin, a U.S. friend at the time, shelved the project. This turned out to be India’s gain.

India took over the development work in 1998, agreeing to spend over US$250 million on the project. The Russian missile engine was married to an Indian guidance system in a 50:50 partnership, thus giving it the unique name of BrahMos, after India’s Brahmaputra River and Russia’s Moskva River.

India has no intention of killing U.S. aircraft carriers, hence its development and operation were not questioned by the United States. On the other hand, a Chinese naval flotilla approaching the Indian Ocean on an aggressive mission would be fair game for this missile.

The same is true of any aggressive moves by the Pakistani Navy. The latter has always envisioned attacking India’s offshore oil and gas fields close to Mumbai, and repeating the Muslim destruction of India’s Somnath Temple on the Gujarat coast, 900 years back.
The version of the BrahMos that went into operation in 2005 is the naval version only. Another version, which can be carried by an aircraft or used in land-to-land combat, is still under development and should be operational in about three years.

Collaboration on the missile’s development was not easy. In 1998 the Russians were strictly following the guidelines of the Missile Technology Control Regime and would not export any missile technology beyond the 300-kilometer (186-mile) range. It also would not give India any help in building a sophisticated guidance system.

Hence this missile has a limited range of 290 kilometers (180 miles) and has an Indian guidance system. All testing and development since 1998 have been carried out in India, with the Russians as a 50-percent partner.

Beginning in 2002 when the missile first flew, it surprised most observers. Few thought that Russian-Indian collaboration could be successful and produce a weapon of that sophistication. Now it is a reality. Some Indian Navy ships are already equipped with it. Soon the air and land version will join the Indian forces, making them highly potent.

This technology acquisition and development was so important for India that the military went out of its way not to draw international attention. Technology transfer arrangements were such that no MTCR guidelines were broken.

Also in India’s neighborhood, Pakistan has acquired U.S. Harpoon and French Exocet missiles, and China has been buying Russian Sovremenny-class destroyers – hence India had to do something unique to put both China and Pakistan on the defensive. It appears that India has now achieved that task.

Although the missile is so successful, India was expecting other nations to order it. But no export orders have been received so far, despite an intense sales pitch over the last three years. None of the potential customers wishes to kill U.S. or other nations’ aircraft carriers; hence they do not need such a powerful weapon. Also, at US$2.5 million apiece the price is a bit steep. The original requirement of 1,000 missiles for the Indian and Russian navies still stands.

The future of this missile in Indian hands is very bright. It will permanently keep the Chinese navy out of the Indian Ocean. Closer to home, the belligerent Pakistan is unmindful of these developments. Their Harpoon missile inventory is very capable, but is subsonic and has a very limited range. The BrahMos, carried on ships and planes, can be fired from 200 miles away and hit its target with pinpoint accuracy.

The scramjet-powered BrahMos-2 will again be developed with Russian collaboration. That is the only way India will lay its hands on scramjet technology. The irony is that the MTCR will prevent its range from exceeding 300 kilometers.

This development work will take three years and will involve 20 Russian and Indian institutes and industrial units to finish the job. The only thing known about this newer missile, the BrahMos-2, is that it will fly at about Mach-5 to Mach-7 speed and will beat any known anti aircraft or anti-missile defense system.

The Chinese asked the Russians for similar collaboration on a similar missile system, but were flatly turned down. Instead the Russians equipped Chinese destroyers with Moskit class sea-skimming ramjet missiles. These are very capable missiles with a range of 90 to 150 kilometers. But these could neither be launched from aircraft nor have land-to-land use.

India expects about US$10 billion in orders for these missiles. The production line is gearing up to make 1,000 of these in various versions over the next ten years. If an additional export order for 1,000 more missiles is obtained the production line will have to be significantly expanded. Right now there no export orders – that will limit production to about 50-100 missiles a year.

A comparable missile in the U.S. inventory is the Tomahawk cruise missile, which has an extended range and larger explosive payload than others. But it is a subsonic missile, and thus can fall prey to fighter jets or anti-air or anti-missile system.

Collaboration between the Russians and Indians has produced a marvelous weapon. Future collaboration between the two nations is in the cards, in developing a fifth-generation fighter jet, a new tank design, etc. This is helpful to both countries. The Russians can defray the development costs and India gets a sophisticated weapon. Barring a few hiccups this collaboration will continue."