Indian scientists, in collaboration with their Russian counterparts, have started work on the smaller version of the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile system for integration with different platforms.
With the first launch anticipated in three years, the mini-version missile system could also be integrated into the MiG-29K naval fighters onboard the Indian Navy’s recently-commissioned aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya.
Brahmos Aerospace CEO and managing director Dr Sivathanu Pillai was quoted by the Russian news agency Itar-Tass as saying that the latest collaboration is aimed at trimming down the weight of the missile for integration with different platforms, including the fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) that India is developing with Russia.
"We are faced with the challenge of reducing the rocket’s mass, so that it can be integrated with a variety of platforms," Pillai said.
"The commissioning of the INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier, complete with deck-based MiG-29K/KUB jet fighters, required accelerated work to arm them with a smaller version of the Brahmos missile, so that the aircraft could take off from the carrier with two missiles under their wings."
The FGFA and MiG-29K jets can be fitted with two of the compact missiles, whereas the Indian Air Force’s Su-30MKI strike fighter can be armed with three.
The 6m-long mini-version, with a 0.5m diameter, offers a top speed of 3.5mach while carrying a payload of 300kg for a maximum distance of 290km.
It is anticipated that the ship-based version will be fired from the Su-30MKI jet fighter during the fourth quarter of 2014.
Image: Each of Indian Navy’s MiG-29K fighters can be equipped with two Brahmos mini-version missiles. Photo: courtesy of Indian Navy.