BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture between India and Russia, is looking to sell its BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles to countries in the Middle East and South-East Asia amid growing demand, according to a senior executive of the company.

BrahMos, a nuclear-capable missile, is the world’s fastest cruise missiles and can be fired from land, sea and air. The missile is named after the Brahmaputra river in India and the Moskva river in Russia.

The Delhi-based defence company signed its first export order worth $375 million with the Philippines government last year.

The company mainly supplies missiles to the Indian army, navy and air force with the order book currently totalling about $5 billion to $6 billion until 2025.

Atul D Rane, chief executive and managing director of BrahMos Aerospace
“BrahMos Aerospace is in serious conversation with nine countries including six in Southeast Asia and three in the Middle East to sell missiles,” Atul D Rane, chief executive and managing director of the company told The National on the sidelines of the International Defence Exhibition in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

“We are continuously improving the missile performance and especially the current global conflict, which is going on, it has shown that more numbers are required by everyone at any time. We are expecting even more orders to fill our books with the current version till 2028 and 2029.”

It plans to export to "friendly foreign countries, agreed to both by the government of India and the government of Russia".

The war in Ukraine has raised geopolitical tension across Europe, leading many nations to step up military spending, creating opportunities for defence companies to land major contracts.

“At the same time, we are working on a newer version of BrahMos, which is in same specifications in terms of range and speed but in terms of size, it is much smaller and will be able to fit two of them on an aircraft to launch," Mr Rane said.

The flight trials for the newer version of the missile are expected to start in the next three years.

BrahMos Aerospace is funded by the government of India and the government of Russia but registered as a private limited company with three production centres in Hyderabad, Nagpur and Pilani. India has a 50.5 per cent stake in the company.

The company employs more than 1,000 people and has partnerships with 200 industries across India for the supply of parts and systems and sub-systems for the manufacture of missiles. Russian industry is also supporting the company in the supply of raw materials.

“We have a supply chain and are able to produce at any rate that is required, whoever needs we will be able to supply them at whatever speed they need. We have regular production lines moving,” he said, adding the company has not faced any difficulties due to supply chain disruptions globally due to the coronavirus pandemic and the Ukraine conflict.

BrahMos Aerospace plans to continue its partnership with Russia despite efforts by western countries to isolate Russia as the Ukraine war continues.

“The West has isolated Russia, not India,” Mr Rane said.

“We are trusted partners and we work together and we had no problems till now and don’t expect to have any problems (in future)."

India, Asia’s third-largest economy, is boosting defence spending amid tensions with China. It raised its defence budget to 5.94 trillion rupees ($72.6 billion) for the 2023-24 financial year, up 13 per cent from the previous period.