Maxim Pyadushkin writes: The development of the air-launched version of the Russo-Indian BrahMos supersonic cruise missile has got the green light. Visiting the BrahMos booth at Aero India 2009, Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony said he expects to see the series production of this version to start in 2012. The missile will be launched from the Indian Air Force’s Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighters.
Air-launched BrahMos at Aero-India (Maxim Pyadushkin)
India has settled on a configuration with a single 2.5-ton BrahMos under its fuselage, leaving the fighter with another 5,000 pounds of combat load, explains Dr Sivathanu Pillai, chief of the BrahMos joint venture. (It will be the biggest missile ever carried by an operational fighter.) He also said that the air-launched missile will be optimized to engage only ground-based targets as specified by the customer – India’s Air Force. India’s navy has an anti-ship BrahMos version, while the Army uses a ground-based mobile variant.
At the show BrahMos continued negotiations with Sukhoi about the modernization of Su-30MKI , including the design of airframe hardpoints and changes to the weapon control system. Tests will be carried out with two Su-30s straight off the Russian production line, plus one airframe for ground test, says BrahMos Russian co-director Alexander Baskakov.
The definitive contract between IAF, BrahMos, Sukhoi and Rosoboronexport (Russia’s arms trading agency), is expected to be signed within the next few months. Flight tests will start in Russia in 2011 and later continued in India.