Recently, the Indian Air Force successfully tested the BrahMos missile on its frontline fighter jet the Sukhoi 30MKI. It was a historic moment as it greatly raises the capabilities of the Indian Air Force. The combo of Sukhoi 30MKI which is a fourth-generation fighter jet and the BrahMos which is the fastest supersonic cruise missile in the world is deadly. But this isn’t where the Indian Air Force is stopping. It will now equip India’s indigenous fighter jet Tejas with a lighter version of the BrahMos.
Tejas being a lighter jet (around 1,000 kg in comparison to the Sukhoi 30MKI that weighs 1,800 kg) requires a lighter version of the cruise missile. For this reason, the Tejas multi-role jet will be equipped with the BrahMos Light which is being worked on.
The speed of the BrahMos is what is stunning as it makes interception very tough. The IAF is looking to induct over 120 Tejas fighter aircraft in the future and equipping them with a lethal weapon like the BrahMos will increase its capability immensely.
This version of the BrahMos missile will have a smaller engine although the warhead will be about the same. The weight of the missile will be considerably less. The most important factor is that the range of this lighter version will remain the same at about 300 km.
A senior defence official said that the BrahMos Light is ‘currently in the design stage, though initial consultations have been held.’ The missile is likely to be ready by 2019.
The BrahMos is a joint venture of India and Russia. It is the fastest supersonic cruise in the world. The name comes from ‘Brah’ from Brahmaputra and ‘Mos’ from Moskva river in Russia.
The missile is feared not only by Pakistan but even by China. China’s worries were evident when India placed regiments of the missile in the North East which China termed as ‘escalation’ and said that India should be wary of such steps.
With India now having all land, air and sea versions of the BrahMos, the offensive capabilities of India have risen considerably. Russia and India are also working on expanding the range of the missile to over 600 km and also its speed to a mind-blowing 7 to 8 Mach.