A Journey of 25 Years

How BrahMos Aerospace has come a long way since its inception

Atul Chandra

The BrahMos supersonic cruise missile programme is one of the most visible symbols of India’s enduring military partnership with Russia. It is now also over five decades, since India and the erstwhile USSR entered into the 1971 Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation and more than two decades, since India and Russia announced the Declaration on Strategic Partnership. The BrahMos supersonic cruise missile programme was one of the first deals between India and Russia, which evolved beyond the simple buyer-seller relationship to one which focussed on joint research & development, production of high-end defence technologies.


In the last 25 years, the BrahMos weapon system has gone to become one of the mainstays of India’s tactical missile arsenal and the weapon system is in use on land, air and sea, with the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force. The BrahMos has grown into a potent weapon system, far evolved from that which existed when India and Russia came together to partner on a supersonic cruise missile. The Mach 3 capable BrahMos remains a potent threat due to its high-speed, powerful payload and ability to evade countermeasures. Newer versions of BrahMos such as the lighter BrahMos-NG and future hypersonic variant will see the weapon system remain in service will beyond 2050.


Potted History


February 1998: BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture between the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Joint Stock Company ‘NPO Mashinostroyenia’ (also known as Federal State Unitary Enterprise NPOM of Russia) comes in being. The name BrahMos was a portmanteau of the names of the rivers Brahmaputra and Moskva. Dr A.S. Pillai takes over as its first Chief Executive Officer (CEO).


July 1999: The first BrahMos contract inked, with BrahMos Aerospace receiving USD123.75 million from Russia and USD126.25 million from India. Work on the project, commences that same year in both countries.


2001: BrahMos Aerospace makes its first international appearance, participating at the MAKS 2001 exhibition in Russia.


June 2002: The BrahMos programme progresses quickly; and the first successful missile launch takes place from a land-based launcher at the Interim Test Range, off the Chandpur Coast in Orissa.


September 2002: The JV lays the foundation stone for BrahMos Complex in New Delhi.


2005: Indian Navy inducts the land-attack version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile.


2007: Indian Army inducts the Block-I version of the land-attack BrahMos supersonic cruise missile.


March 2008: The Indian Navy makes the first test of land-attack BrahMos from the warship (INS Rajput). The missile is installed in an inclined launch configuration.


March 2008: BrahMos missile successfully test fires from the warship INS Ranvir in vertical launch mode.


March 2008: Indian Army tests the Block-II version of the land-attack BrahMos for the first time.


December 2010: Indian Army tests the Block-III+ version of the missile for the first time.


March 2013: The submarine-launched BrahMos is tested for the first time from a submerged platform in the Bay of Bengal.


August 2014: Sudhir Kumar Mishra takes charge as CEO and managing director after the retirement of Dr Pillai.


February 2015: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) hands over the first Su-30 MKI modified to carry the BrahMos Air-Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM) to the Indian Air Force (IAF).


March 2017: The BrahMos ER (Extended Range) missile is successfully flight tested, allowing targets to be engaged out to ranges beyond 400km as compared to 290 km previously.


November 2017: The IAF successfully flight tests the BrahMos ALCM for the first time from Su-30MKI.


January 2020: The IAF’s No. 222 Squadron ‘Tigersharks’ becomes the first to be equipped with Su-30MKI fighters armed with the BrahMos ALCM.


December 2021: Atul Dinkar Rane takes over as new CEO & MD of BrahMos Aerospace.


January 2022: BrahMos Aerospace gains historic first export order from Philippines. The Rupees 2,812 crore contract will involve supply of missile batteries (each missile battery comprises three missile launchers) to Philippines.


September 2022: India’s ministry of defence (MoD) inks a contract with BrahMos Aerospace for supply of dual-role capable BrahMos missiles to the Indian Navy at an approximate cost of Rupees 1,700 crore.


March 2023: BrahMos Aerospace receives contract from the MoD to supply Next Generation Maritime Mobile Coastal Batteries (NGMMCB) Long range, BrahMos missiles at an approximate cost of over Rupees 1,700 crore. Deliveries of NGMMCBs to commence from 2027.


2024: New BrahMos Aerospace manufacturing facility in Uttar Pradesh to be ready. It is expected to produce 80-100 BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles every year.



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