A Sukhoi-Su30MKI firing a BrahMos supersonic cruise missile during trials

The formidable BrahMos JV, desired across global missile markets, is a culmination of the special, privileged defence partnership shared between India and Russia

India and Russia, the two leading powers in the world, have built a strong, vibrant, multi-dimensional relationship based on mutual trust, respect, understanding and cooperation. The two sides have worked conjointly for each other's benefit by partnering in many strategic spheres including nuclear energy, military technology and space science. This special, privileged partnership has withstood the test of time in an evolving world order.

Of the many military programs the two nations have pursued jointly, it is the BrahMos Defence JV which remains the most vibrant 'win-win' partnership model between New Delhi and Moscow. Involving India's DRDO and Russia's NPOM, the JV program has achieved remarkable progress since its inception 20 years ago.

BrahMos Aerospace, the Indo-Russian joint venture (JV) entity which was set up in February 1998 to design, develop, produce and deliver the highly versatile, universal BRAHMOS weapon system, today has established itself as a leading player in the world cruise missile market. The supersonic cruise missile, having no parallel in the world, has bolstered India's military might manifold by being successfully inducted in all three wings of the country's Armed Forces.

The BrahMos project was conceived soon after India and Russia inked the bilateral Military-Technical Cooperation agreement in 1994. With a strong backing from the Governments of both the countries and involving the best scientific minds, institutions and laboratories from the two sides, BRAHMOS was developed and tested successfully within a very short timespan. The first launch was successfully test fired on June 12, 2001.

Since then, BRAHMOS has evolved into a multi-role precision strike weapon having multi-platform deployability. The tactical missile has validated its impeccable anti-ship and land-attack capability and has been tested in land-to-land, land-to-sea, sea-to-land, sea-to-sea, sub-sea-to-land and air-to-sea configurations – a unique feat not achieved by any other weapon of its genre. No other country in the world has been able to develop such a highly versatile, multi-role modern weapon for its military.

On November 22, 2017, the formidable BRAHMOS made India break the 'fifth-nation syndrome' when the missile's advanced air-launched version with precision strike power was successfully test fired for the first time from the Indian Air Force's Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter platform against a ship target. The BRAHMOS-A mission came as a world record feat for India which demonstrated its exclusive capability to launch a supersonic cruise missile from land, sea, sub-sea and air.

The highly challenging mission, backed by the Russian and Indian Governments and the scientific experts of both sides, brought together all major defence-sector entities, including DRDO, NPOM, Sukhoi and HAL to synergise all their resources and successfully realise the BRAHMOS air-launched cruise missile (ALCM) program.

By strongly backing and giving support to such an intricate project since the beginning, Russia once again reaffirmed its close military bond with India.

BRAHMOS ALCM today leads the race among worldwide conventional airborne weapons in terms of its range, lethality and effectiveness. It has given an unprecedented fillip to the Indian Air Force's air combat capability.

The BrahMos project has redefined and transformed the buyer-seller ties between New Delhi and Moscow into that of joint production and development, with a focus on technology sharing.

With Russia committing itself to become a leading partner in the ambitious 'Make in India' program initiated by New Delhi, the BrahMos JV promises to gain rich technological dividends for India in the coming years. While the JV has already set a perfect benchmark in indigenous defence industrial development and production by establishing a robust Missile Industrial Consortium, its future goals under Vision-2050 to design and develop even more advanced BRAHMOS versions in close partnership with Russia is all set to further widen India's indigenous defence network, thereby accelerating national growth and progress.

In addition, the BRAHMOS program would bring in huge financial gains for both the partners once the Governments of India and Russia firmly decide on exporting the missile to friendly countries who have sought the formidable weapon for their military.