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India successfully flight tests BrahMos cruise missile with indigenous seeker

India successfully flight tested its supersonic BrahMos cruise missile fitted with an Indian-made seeker on Thursday, March 22, the defence minister said.

Raksha Mantri (defense minister) Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted that the test was carried at at 8:42 am at the Rokhran test range in the northwestern state of Rajastan which borders Pakistan.

“The precision strike weapon with Indian-made seeker flew in its designated trajectory and hit the target with pin-point accuracy,” Sitharaman said.

The BrahMos is a supersonic medium-range ramjet-powered cruise missile that can be launched from sea, land and air.

It is manufactured in Hyderabad by BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture between India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroeyenia.

The missile is based on Russia’s P-800 Oniks anti-ship cruise missile and the 3M55 missile.

BrahMos reportedly has a top speed of around Mach 2.8, Surface-launched missiles can carry a 200 kg warhead, while the air-launched variant can carry a 300 kg payload.

In December 2016, Jane’s reported that India and Russia had agreed to undertake “joint technical development work” to extend the missile’s range beyond 292 km, after India joined the Missile Technology Control Regime which limited the maximum range to 300km.

A new extended range variant with a range “far beyond 400 km” was tested in March 2017, and in November, the missile was successfully test-fired from an Indian Air Force Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter jet.

India has conducted a number of tests of various missiles in recent months.

In late February, the nuclear-capable Dhanush short-range missile, the Agni-II medium range ballistic missile and the Prithvi-II short-range missile were tested. Earlier that month, the medium-range Agni-I and short-range Prithvi-II were tested.

In January, India’s nuclear-capable Agni-V intercontinental ballistic missile was successfully tested for the fifth time, while in December, the Advanced Air Defence missile system intercepted a target ballistic missile in a test and DRDO declared as successful a launch of its Akash surface-to-air missile fitted with an indigenous seeker.

In November, DRDO said it conducted a successful test flight of the indigenously developed Nirbhay long-range sub-sonic cruise missile.

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