Now in the Air

BrahMos on Su-30MKI to be flight-tested early next year

Pravin Sawhney and Ghazala Wahab

The recently held MAKS-15 airshow in Zhukovsky was a good occasion to catch up with the BrahMos CEO, Sudhir Mishra, who FORCE had met earlier on his assuming the present assignment in August 2014. While the focus of the present interaction was the BrahMos air launch version, he had earlier spoken about the futuristic BrahMos-M (Mini) and the hypersonic BrahMos.

BrahMos on Su-30MKI to be flight-tested early next year

According to Mishra, “the flight test of the BrahMos air launched version (on Su-30MKI) is planned for February-March 2016. We think that one flight test would be enough after which the air version would be cleared for production.” As the user has been co-opted in this venture by BrahMos Aerospace from the beginning, more flight tests would be unnecessary, he said.

Elaborating on the six steps for the air version, of which two are over, Mishra disclosed that structural modifications on Su-30MKI have been done by HAL (Nasik). According to him, “the Russian Sukhoi design bureau was approached. After two years of negotiations, the price that they quoted for structural modifications was exorbitant. This is when HAL took on the challenge and showed desired results which were successfully demonstrated in middle of 2014-2015.”

The second successfully demonstrated step has been the ‘launcher realisation’, which has been designed, developed and produced by BrahMos Aerospace. Mishra said that, “the DGQA has already given conditional clearance for the launcher implying that mechanical and electrical activities needed for the launcher on aircraft have been vindicated.”

The third step, according to Mishra, will be the integration of missile with the launcher for flights in various profiles. Once done, this will be followed by the ‘Drop Test” to ascertain the behaviour of the missile once released from the aircraft. The fifth step would be to integrate sensors with the missile and to ensure that there is no ‘major deviation between the theoretical and demonstrated parameters.’ The last step would be the ‘flight test in total configuration.’

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