By Rajeev Sharma
NEW DELHI: The second BrahMos unit of Indian Army has been operationalised somewhere in western sector, in conformity and pursuit of operational and strategic surface to surface missile capability development. The Indian Army unit successfully launched BrahMos missile and destroyed the pre-selected target in the field firing ranges in Rajasthan on March 4, Army spokesman Colonel Jagdeep Dahiya said.
Sources said so far India has deployed BrahMos missile in the western sector only against Pakistan. However, since the missile is fitted on a mobile launcher it can be transported anywhere in the country and deployed within a short time. The Indian Army is planning to deploy it against China as well in near future. India started a massive war preparedness drill in Arunachal Pradesh in the north-eastern sector codenamed “Pralaya” (which in English means ‘end of cosmos’) on February 29.
BrahMos, a stealth supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft or land, is about three-and-a-half times faster than the USA's subsonic Harpoon cruise missile and three times faster than USA's subsonic Tomahawk missile. India has also planned an air-launched variant which is expected to come out in 2012 and will make India the only country with supersonic missiles in all the defence forces. However, the sources said the 2012 deadline is unlikely to be met. A hypersonic version of the missile, which is also presently under development with speed of Mach 7 to boost aerial fast strike capability, is expected to be ready by 2016.
BrahMos has the capability of attacking surface targets by flying as low as 10 metres in altitude. It can gain a speed of Mach 2.8, and has a maximum range of 290 km. The BrahMos has been developed as a joint venture between the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) of India and the Federal State Unitary Enterprise NPO Mashinostroyenia (NPOM) of Russia under BrahMos Aerospace. The missile is named after two rivers, the Brahmaputra of India and the Moskva of Russia.