India Making Strong Pitch for Export of BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile | Security Risks Asia Made with Humane Club

India Making Strong Pitch for Export of BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile

Published May 26, 2019
Updated Apr 15, 2020

India is making a strong pitch for exports of BrahMos super sonic cruise missile to South East Asia. For one the BrahMos Aerospace showcased the BrahMos Supersonic Missile at the International Maritime Defence Exhibition Asia 2019 (IMDEX Asia 2019) held in mid May. The missile was on display along with Akash SAM (Surface to Air Missile).

IMDEX Asia 2019 was an appropriate venue for showcasing the BrahMos. As  per Mr Vincent Chong, Chairman, Experia Events Pte Ltd, IMDEX Asia has evolved to become a strategic ecosystem of importance and relevance in the maritime domain. This is evidenced by the presence of 26 chiefs of defence forces and navies, vice chiefs, directors-general of coast guards; and senior naval officials who have set aside time to network and strengthen ties, share and exchange knowledge, and keep abreast of the latest technological developments at IMDEX Asia 2019 he says in his remarks on the website of the event.

33 navies from around the world including 16 navy chiefs and 17 navies with their representatives and 6 coast guards and maritime agencies including 4 director generals and 2 representatives are participating in IMDEX 2019.

Recent tests of the BrahMos proved versatility of the missile and launch platforms.  IAF successfully fired the BrahMos air version missile from its frontline Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft. The launch from the aircraft was smooth and the missile followed the desired trajectory before directly hitting the land target.

This was the second such live launch of the weapon. The integration of the weapon on the aircraft was a very complex process involving mechanical, electrical and software modifications on aircraft.

The air launched BrahMos missile is a 2.5 ton supersonic air to surface cruise missile with ranges of close to 300 km, designed and developed by BAPL. The IAF became the first Air Force in the world to have successfully fired an air launched 2.8 Mach surface attack missile of this category on a sea target on 22 Nov 17.

The IAF has been involved in the activity from its inception. The software development of the aircraft was undertaken by the IAF engineers while HAL carried out mechanical and electrical modifications on the aircraft. The dedicated and synergetic efforts of the IAF, DRDO, BAPL and HAL have proven the capability of the nation to undertake such complex integrations.

The firing could be successfully undertaken with dedicated support from Indian Navy by way of ensuring availability of a large number of monitoring ships to ensure range safety clearance.

 On 22 May a BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile was successfully test-fired by a Unit of Eastern Command, Indian Army from Car Nicobar Islands at 1450 hr as part of joint training by Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force. The Combat missile was test fired on a specially designed target chosen at a range of 270 Kms, thus validating deep penetration capability by the supersonic cruise missile and accurate engagement of targets in depth.

 The launch of the BrahMos missile involved coordination with large number of agencies for a successful and smooth conduct of firing. It was a cohesive effort of all three services demonstrating high standards of Inter Service Synergy.

Lt Gen MM Naravane, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Eastern Command witnessed the launch along with other officers and congratulated the Unit and all agencies involved in the process, resulting in the successful launch of the Combat missile.

BrahMos missile has by now established itself as a major ‘Force Multiplier’ in modern day battlefield with impeccable multi role and multi platform launch capabilities furthering the confidence amongst our troops.

The display of the BrahMos at the IMDEX 2019 and recent tests has raised speculation that India is hoping to export the front line missile to some South East Asian countries such as Vietnam may be interested in purchasing the missiles from India.

India and Vietnam have held talks on the sales of the BrahMos for some time now.

Some reports indicate that Malaysia and Indonesia may also be looking at the BrahMos being a cheaper option to the Western missiles in the same profile but much lesser potential.

A Times of India report also indicated that India is now offering defence systems on line of credit on the same lines as the Foreign Military Sales programme of the United States. This will overcome some of the bureaucratic challenges and also provide the BrahMos at the same price as that to the Indian Armed Forces.

Importantly as the BrahMos can be fired from land, sea and in the coming years, air there is additional interest in the system from countries in South East Asia.

The acquisition of these missiles may shift the balance in the South China Sea with the South East Asian countries having a dispute with China able to adopt an Anti Access, Area Denial posture to protect sovereignty of their disputed island territories.