Lethal Weapons

Cruise missiles BRAHMOS-II and BRAHMOS NG are set to be game changers

Mihir Paul

Cruise missiles have gained a vital role in today’s battles because of their precision, speed, and versatility. Their ability to be launched from a plethora of platforms i.e. air, surface, and sea makes them more viable during times of conflict since ballistic missiles aren’t even considered in 21st century conflicts due to the nature of payloads they are designed to carry.

General manager, market promotion and export, BrahMos Aerospace, Praveen Pathak

Travelling at hundreds of miles an hour, cruise missiles use global positioning system, inertial guidance, optical scenery correlation, and terrain comparing radar to find their targets. Their accuracy makes them especially useful in attacking military targets in urban areas with limited damage to nearby civilian facilities. Cruise missile technology has been developing alongside the development of computer technology, positioning systems, and propellant technology.

India is placing extensive resources into the development of air, surface, and ship-launched cruise missiles, such as the world-renowned supersonic BRAHMOS. The development of these cruise missiles is a natural progression for India, which is seeking to develop various platforms for its military arsenal. The developers of BRAHMOS are already on their way to develop the hypersonic iteration of India’s fastest missile, BRAHMOS II.

The Inception

The BRAHMOS missile is a medium-range ramjet propelled supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarine, ships, aircraft, or land. It is one of the fastest supersonic cruise missiles in the world. A joint venture between the Russian Federation’s NPO Mashinostroyeniya and India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), it has gone through several upgrades over the years.

The name BrahMos is a portmanteau formed from the names of two rivers, the Brahmaputra of India and the Moskva of Russia. It is one of the world’s fastest cruise missiles in operation. The missile travels at speeds of Mach 2.8 to 3.0 (supersonic), which is being upgraded to more than Mach 5.0 for the hypersonic version of the same. One of its special features is its ability to fly extremely close to the ground to avoid missile defence systems. BrahMos Aerospace explains that during terminal phase the missile can fly as low as 10 metres to the ground. The missile relies on active radar seeker or Inertial guidance for its terminal phase.

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