Mumbai: Economic Explosives Limited (EEL), defence arm of Nagpur’s Solar Group, handed over two units the first indigenous booster to be used in the medium-range stealth supersonic cruise missile BrahMos to Brahmos Aerospace Private Limited (BAPL) reports Shishir Arya of TOI.

So far, the country has been depending on Russia for the major component which gives the initial thrust to a missile. The boosters were handed over at a function held at EEL’s plant, over 30km from the city.

BAPL, which is an Indo-Russian joint venture, has its units at Nagpur and Hyderabad. It is also working on a smaller version of the BrahMos missile. Of around one third of the size, it is expected to also have a range of 300km like the current version.

EEL, which has emerged as the first private company to make the boosters, has bagged order for 20 units in all. BAPL’s managing director Ajit Rane said during the handing over function that the company had a much higher requirement and would expect that the industry makes more numbers. The company would be needing as much as eight boosters in a month, he said.

Rane said the booster is among the three process components which had originally come from Russia in the initial stages. These include — the seeker, sustainer engine and the booster. Of these, the booster has now been indigenized, he added.

Solar Group chairman Satyanarayan Nuwal said the company is also keen to take up work for making warheads for the missile and is ready to meet any higher requirement.

Solar Group had got the transfer of technology (ToT) for the boosters in 2018. The final approval, which included inspection by the Russian team, came in April 2022, after which the two units were finally delivered.

Nuwal said this comes as a major achievement, especially for the Aatmanirbhar Bharat endeavour.

Talking to TOI on the sidelines of the handing over function, Rane said that BAPL is working on a different variant of the missile. The smaller version but with the same range is on the drawing board stage. In over two months, it is expected to be ready for trials, he said. BAPL also has bagged an export order from Philippines, he said.

Developing indigenous booster is expected to reduce major dependence on imports. A missile has a ramjet engine which attains a speed in Mach. However, for the engine to reach up to a certain speed, the missile needs a push from the booster.

Earlier, the EEL had delivered the first batch of indigenously designed 30mm ammunition to the Navy. The rounds are used for air defence on the ships.