• IASbaba
  • June 13, 2022
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Science and Technology
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Context: On June 12, 2001, the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile was first tested from a land-based launcher in Chandipur.

  • In the 21 years since, BrahMos has been upgraded several times, with versions tested on land, air and sea platforms.

 A look at the 21-year journey of the versatile asset

  • In the early 1990s, India’s strategic leadership felt the need for cruise missiles — guided missiles that traverse the majority of their flight path at almost constant speed and deliver large warheads over long distances with high precision. The need was felt primarily following the use of cruise missiles in the Gulf War.
  • An Inter-Governmental Agreement was signed with Russia in Moscow in 1998 by Dr Kalam, who headed the DRDO and N V Mikhailov, Russia’s then Deputy Defence Minister.
  • This led to the formation of BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture between DRDO and NPO Mashinostroyenia (NPOM), the Indian side holding 50.5% and the Russians 49.5%.
  • In 1999, work on development of missiles began in labs of DRDO and NPOM after BrahMos Aerospace received funds from the two governments.
  • The first successful test in 2001 was conducted from a specially designed land-based launcher.

The missile system has since reached some key milestones, with the first major export order of $375 million received from the Philippines Navy this year.

About BrahMos

  • Name: BrahMos is named on the rivers Brahmaputra and Moskva.
  • Multiplatform Missile: it can be launched from land, air, and sea and multi capability missile with pinpoint accuracy that works in both day and night irrespective of the weather conditions
  • BrahMos is a two-stage missile with a solid propellant booster engine.
  • Its first stage brings the missile to supersonic speed and then gets separated.
  • The liquid ramjet or the second stage then takes the missile closer to three times the speed of sound in cruise phase.
  • The missile has a very low radar signature, making it stealthy, and can achieve a variety of trajectories.
  • Fire and Forgets Principle: It operates on the “Fire and Forgets” principle i.e. it does not require further guidance after launch.
  • Cruise missiles such as BrahMos, called “standoff range weapons”, are fired from a range far enough to allow the attacker to evade defensive counter-fire.
  • The BrahMos has three times the speed, 2.5 times flight range and higher range compared to subsonic cruise missiles.
  • With missiles made available for export, the platform is also seen as a key asset in defence diplomacy.
  • An extended range version of the BrahMos air-launched missile was tested from a Sukhoi-30 MKI recently.
  • In January 2022, an advanced sea-to-sea variant of BrahMos was tested from the newly commissioned INS Visakhapatnam.

Current Status

  • With requirements evolving in multi-dimensional warfare, the BrahMos is undergoing a number of upgrades and work is on to develop versions with higher ranges, manoeuvrability and accuracy.
  • Versions currently being tested include ranges up to 350 km, as compared to the original’s 290 km.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) With reference to the Agni-IV Missile, which of the following statement(s) is/are correct? (2014)

  1. It is a surface-to-surface missile.
  2. It is fuelled by liquid propellant only.
  3. It can deliver a one-tonne nuclear warhead about 7500 km away.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below.

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

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