The Indian Air Force’s Sukhoi Su-30MKI (NATO reporting name: Flanker-H) multipurpose fighter jet equipped with an air-launched version of the BrahMos cruise missile has performed the first flight, spokesman for the Russian-Indian BrahMos Aerospace Company Praveen Pathak told TASS.
“India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has carried out the first flight of the Su-30MKI fighter jet equipped with an air-launched version of the BrahMos cruise missile in Nashik to demonstrate the successful integration of the carrying aircraft with the missile,” Pathak said.
According to him, the missile technology demonstrator with an inert warhead and sensors designed to register the missile’s flight and technical characteristics was mounted on the under-belly launcher of the Su-30MKI plane.
The successful flight of the fighter jet equipped with the missile technology demonstrator is an important stage to prepare for the launch of the BrahMos cruise missile by the Su-30MKI fighter jet.
As BrahMos Aerospace Company Head Sudhir Kumar Mishra told TASS earlier, the flight test program for the air-launched version of the BrahMos cruise missile envisages several stages, in particular, pop-up tests of the missile’s mockup and its technology demonstrator with sensors integrated with it to register flight and technical characteristics, as well as launches of BrahMos cruise missiles.
The Indian Air Force is planning to equip three regiments of Su-30MKI fighter jets with BrahMos cruise missiles.
The design of the missile has been changed so that it can be mounted on the Su-30MKI fighter jet. In particular, the load on its bearing elements has been redistributed. The weight and the length of the air-launched version of the BrahMos cruise missile have been reduced by 500 kilograms to 2.5 tons and by almost 0.5 meters, respectively.
The BrahMos cruise missile with a length of nine meters and a diameter of 70 centimeters can carry a warhead weighing up to 300 kilograms to a maximum distance of 290 kilometers (180 miles) at a speed of 2.8 Mach, which is 2.8 times more than the sound speed.
The BrahMos cruise missile has already been made operational with the Indian Army and the Navy.
The submarine-launched version of the BrahMos cruise missile underwent the first trials in March 2014.
The developers of the air-launched version of the BrahMos cruise missile are convinced that the missile when it enters service with India’s Air Force will attract attention of countries that operate fighter jets of the Su-30 family and these fighter jets will become the first carrying aircraft in the world able to use supersonic air-to-surface cruise missiles.