The 290km-range BrahMos missile, an Indo-Russian joint venture, is now ready for induction into the Indian Air Force, a top government official said. The specially modified Su-30 fighter took off from the Kalaikunda air base in West Bengal to launch the weapon against a decommissioned boat.
“The successful maiden test firing of BrahMos air launched cruise missile (ALCM) from Su-30MKI will significantly bolster the IAF’s air combat operations capability from stand-off ranges,” a statement by the defence ministry said.
The BrahMos missile is the heaviest weapon to be deployed on the Su-30.
The missile’s land and naval variants– 500kg heavier than the air launched version– are already in service. BrahMos is now capable of being launched from land, sea and air, completing the tactical cruise missile triad for India, the ministry’s statement said.
India will soon be deploying an extended range BrahMos missile whose reach has been increased from 290 km to 450 km by tweaking the configuration of the existing weapon. Increasing the missile’s range became possible after India’s induction into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in June 2016.
A Su-30 flew with an integrated BrahMos missile for the first time in June 2016 and a series of rigorous tests followed to check the weapon’s behaviour during complex supersonic manoeuvres before the maiden launch.