India, Russia to increase BrahMos’ strike range

India and Russia have agreed to extend the range of their jointly developed BrahMos PJ-10 supersonic cruise missile beyond 292 km, Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre told parliament on 16 December.

Bhamre said that, subsequent to India joining the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in June, New Delhi and Moscow agreed to undertake “joint technical development work” to extend the strike range of the radar-guided BrahMos.

MTCR restrictions had earlier prohibited Russia from transferring critical systems to India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) that would enable it to increase the missile system’s currently restricted range to a figure greater than the 300 km imposed by the treaty.

Military sources told IHS Jane’s that the two sides reached a deal to double the BrahMos’ range to around 600 km during Russian president Vladimir Putin’s trip to Goa in mid-October.

Configured on the Russian Navy’s P-800 Oniks anti-ship system (SS-N-26 ‘Strobile’) and its 3M55 missile, the BrahMos and its variants are manufactured at a dedicated facility in Hyderabad, southern India.

The missiles have been in service with the Indian Army (IA) and Indian Navy (IN) for almost a decade, but India is now also planning to test-fire the cruise missile from a submarine and a Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter.

Russia supplies 65% of the BrahMos’ components, including its ramjet engine and radar seeker, and the two countries are believed to have recently resolved long-standing issues regarding the system’s intellectual property rights, thus allowing India to export the Brahmos.

In June Indian defence minister Manohar Parrikar had agreed to supply the BrahMos to Vietnam, while countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand were considering whether to place orders, Indian officials said.

Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates are reportedly also among the countries that have expressed interest in acquiring the cruise missile.

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