The BrahMos medium-range ramjet supersonic cruise missile, equipped with inertial navigation and global positioning systems, can effectively engage ground targets from an altitude as low as 10 m for surgical strikes

The Indian Air Force is the fourth largest in the world and has made a lot of technological advancements in the last few years. New helicopters and aircrafts have been introduced showing the progress and development in the field of creating a new benchmark each time in the history of the IAF.

Tactical deployment and utilisation of air power — arguably the most effective military tool — has become absolutely indispensable owing to planes being virtually unsurpassable in terms of speed, range and flexibility alike. It has evolved over a comparatively short span of time having impact both at operational and strategic levels boasting heightened aircraft survivability, enhanced weapon systems, air- and space-based intelligence, and surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.

The immense potential of the BrahMos medium-range ramjet supersonic cruise missile combined with the outstanding performance of the Su-30MKI twinjet multirole air superiority fighter gives the Indian Air Force the desired vital reach.

The successful test-firing of the projectile from the IAF’s frontline fighter Su-30MKI provides a major deterrence against aggression. The missile, equipped with inertial navigation and global positioning systems, can effectively engage ground targets from an altitude as low as 10 m for surgical strikes. It is the sole projectile possessing this advanced ability thereby providing an edge to the user with a precise hit.

Further, the successful development of the enhanced BrahMos (ER) has significantly bolstered the IAF’s combat operations competence from stand-off ranges. The advanced BrahMos air-launched cruise missile (ALCM), after undergoing a series of successful launches from the Su-30MKI platform, was successfully inducted into the IAF’s Tigersharks Squadron.

Tigersharks 222, comprising Su-30 MKI jets, is tasked with an air dominance and maritime role and equipped with the air variant of BrahMos. The squadron is perceived as nothing short of a “gamechanger” vis-à-vis guarding the strategically vital Indian Ocean Region. Expected to set right the military balance in the IOR, the Su-30MKI is a state-of-the-art all-weather aircraft capable of undertaking varied air defence, ground attack and maritime missions.

The BrahMos-NG (Next Generation) systems, having smaller size and reduced weight, could be fitted onto India’s light combat aircraft Tejas. The BrahMos-NG has been conceptualised as a smarter weapon possessing greater versatility, lethality and flexibility with high precision and a cruising speed of Mach 3.5 or higher. This version will be designed for integration on a wide range of platforms. The air launched BrahMos missile is a 2.5-tonne supersonic air-to-surface cruise missile with ranges of close to 300 km.

The Indian Air Force has become the first force in the world to have successfully fired an air launched missile of this magnitude on a sea target on November 22, 2017. This was followed by a second live launch over a land target on May 22, 2019. The ALCM fired from Su-30MKI effectively penetrated a land target, showcasing a much-desired capability of BrahMos missile to strike from large stand-off ranges on any target at sea or on land with pinpoint accuracy by day or night and in all weather conditions.

The software development and integration of weapon of the aircraft was undertaken by the IAF engineers while Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) carried out complex mechanical and electrical modifications on aircraft.

The world class asset, BrahMos, is a product of BrahMos Aerospace Company, a joint venture between India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation and NPO Mashinostroyeniya from Russia. The missile has pride of place as the fastest supersonic cruise missile operationalised in all the three services. The versatile weapon system is based on a mobile automatic launcher, ship, submarine or aircraft.

India’s mainstay in the stand-off weapons is the BrahMos air-to-surface cruise missile. The Su-30-BrahMos combination will carry out air combat operations within and beyond visibility range and will provide the IAF with the capability of attacking targets protected by powerful air defence assets.