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India flight tests BrahMos supersonic cruise missile as part of service life extension

India successfully flight tested the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, validating a service life extension program, the defense minister tweeted.

The test was conducted under “extreme weather conditions,” reinforcing the all-weather capabilities of the system, Raksha Mantri (Defence Minister) Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted.

The missile was launched in sea-state 7 conditions from a mobile autonomous launcher at the Integrated Test Range at Balasore, Odisha, and “followed the designated trajectory and the key components functioned perfectly,” the Ministry of Defence said in a release.

Earlier this month, Sudhir Kumar Mishra, chief of BrahMos Aerospace, said the test “will allow the armed forces to maintain an inventory of the missiles for a longer duration,” increasing its service life from 10 to 15 years, NDTV reported.

The BrahMos missile was tested twice in two days on May 21 and 22, testing life extension technologies and “major subsystems manufactured indigenously” under the “Make in India” initiative.

BrahMos is a supersonic medium-range liquid-fuelled ramjet-powered cruise missile that can be launched from sea, land and air. It is a two-stage missile, with a solid-fueled first stage to bring it to supersonic speed. Surface-launched missiles can carry a 200-kg warhead, while the air-launched variant can carry a payload of 300 kg.

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

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.

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

In March, India successfully flight tested a BrahMos fitted with an indigenous seeker.

At the end of April, BrahMos Aerospace chief executive and managing director Sudhir Mishra said that BrahMos is already the fastest cruise missile in the world, but that its top speed will reach Mach 3.5 soon and the current engine will be “tinkered” to reach Mach 5 in three years. It reportedly has a current top speed of around Mach 2.8.

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