Brahmos Supersonic Cruise Missile : News, Updates and Discussions


Nov 30, 2017
Space Time

The air-launched version of the Indian-Russian BrahMos missile family was successfully flight-tested on November 22, according to BrahMos Aerospace. A prototype BrahMos-A was gravity-dropped from an Indian air force Sukhoi Su-30MKI twin-seat multirole fighter before its two-stage engine fired and propelled the missile toward “a sea-based target in the Bay of Bengal,” the company stated.

BrahMos Aerospace is the joint venture that was established by Moscow and Delhi in 1998 to undertake development and production of an exportable version of the Yakhont supersonic anti-ship cruise missile, also known as the P-800 Onix, which originated in the NPO Mashinostroenia design bureau based at Reutov near Moscow. The BrahMos-A is now expected to enter service within a year or two. Earlier, the Indian government cleared the Indian air force request for funds to procure some 200 of these missiles.

At 2,500 kg (5,510 pounds), the air-launched version is about 450 to 500 kg (990 to 1,100 pounds) lighter than the initial weapon intended for sea-going platforms. The weight reduction is achieved by removing the powder booster that is not necessary when the missile is air-dropped. The BrahMos-A also features a reworked nose cone and additional aerodynamic surfaces for better stability and controllability in the early stages of flight.

Indian defense minister Raksha Mantri Smt Sitharaman congratulated his Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and BrahMos Aerospace for “an outstanding accomplishment.” In turn, DRDO chairman Dr. S. Christopher praised the BrahMos-A developers for “this excellent textbook flight test.”
Aleksandr Leonov, general director and designer at NPO Mashinostroenia, believes that the November 22 event marks “completion of the development process on an absolutely universal weapon, one that is qualified for all launch platforms.” These include ground firings from transporter-erector-launchers (TELs) on wheeled chassis; and firings from surface warships and submarines, as well as aircraft. This is the first supersonic strike missile in the world to be so qualified, he noted.

While development and deployment of the ship- and land-launched missiles went well and on time, that of the air-launched version suffered repeated delays. In 2009, India agreed to dedicate two Su-30MKIs for use as carriers for experimental BrahMos-A weapons. These aircraft were sent to Russia for modifications and flight testing to prove the type capable of carrying a heavy and bulky weapon on the reworked central pylon, with some necessary airframe and undercarriage beef-ups.

Apart from at Sukhoi, some Brahmos-related work on the aircraft was done by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), BrahMos Aerospace and DRDO subdivisions. The aircraft registration SB 173 featuring a new central pylon, and a full-scale missile mockup was demonstrated statically at the AeroIndia show in 2013. This aircraft performed an air-drop of a dummy payload in June 2016 when flying from HAL’s Nasik manufacturing plant, site of Su-30MKI licensed production.
While the manufacturer gives the BrahMos-A’s maximum speed as Mach 2.8 and maximum range at 290 km (156 nm), the past spring witnessed the first launch of the BrahMos ER (Extended Range), capable of flying 450 km (243 nm). This was preceded by India’s joining in the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) last year, a treaty between 35 member states that volunteer to restrict exports of strike missiles and combat unmanned vehicles able to transport a 500-kg (1,100-pound) payload over 300 km (162 nm). It is likely, therefore, that deliverable examples of BrahMos missiles to be assembled in future will have a longer reach regardless of launch platforms.

BrahMos Aerospace has additionally announced the BrahMos II all-new hypersonic weapon and the BrahMos-NG derivative of the production version, shorter in length and smaller in diameter. BrahMos Aerospace CEO Sudhir Kumar Mishra told journalists that recent achievements in miniaturizing components of the high-supersonic and hypersonic propulsion systems make it possible to reduce missile size to achieve lower signatures and easier deployment on aircraft and submarines.

Successful Test-Firing Claimed for Joint Indian-Russian Missile
Inside story: How Brahmos missile got integrated with Sukhoi 30 fighter plane

It was a hot summer forenoon of 1 May 2013 when as chairman of the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), I had a strategic discussion with CEO of Brahmos Aerospace, at his office in Kirby Place, New Delhi. During the discussions he enquired whether HAL had the technical capability to integrate the Brahmos missile on to the Air Force’s Su-30 MKI fighters.

He also said that Russia had offered to do it at a cost of $200 million (Rs 1,300 crore approx). He was not sure, however, if spending so much would help India gain any technological expertise. Air Marshal Arup Raha, vice-chief of IAF (who later took over as IAF chief in December 2013), told me in another meeting that this integration will be a game changer for the Air Force and 40 Su-30s would need such modifications.

Our designers in Nashik went into the details of the challenges involved and a few months later, we confirmed we could do it. There was, however, another challenge. A.S. Pillai, CEO, Brahmos, indicated that he had a budget of only Rs 80 crore for this project and requested HAL to stay within this.
Considering the financial limitation of Brahmos, the HAL board took a historic decision that even if the firm will not make a profit on this task, it will be a good project and should be undertaken in national interest.

It was for the first time in the history of HAL that it was decided to absorb the design and development costs, waive the profit element and contingency costs and finalise a technology project for only Rs 80 crore. This showed the positive synergy between IAF and the industry where cost becomes secondary and national pride, competence and technology development comes to the fore.

Four years later, on 22 November 2017, a Su-30 MKI took off from Kalaikunda, carrying a 2.5-tonne Brahmos missile for test firing at a target in the Bay of Bengal. In copy book style, the missile struck a target on sea, located 260 km away with a high degree of precision and perfection.

We celebrate this success in two ways. First, the integration of Brahmos Air Launch Cruise Missile (ALCM) greatly enhances IAF’s ability to strike heavily defended targets deep into enemy territory, up to a range of 2,100 km (or 3,900 kms with a refueller).

Even if Brahmos is fired from a Su-30 MKI that remains within Indian borders, a wide strike range of 290 km is now available. This will be a paradigm shift for tomorrow’s confrontations with hostile countries. In active wars, the top priority is to destroy strategic enemy locations and defence infrastructure such as nuclear weapon batteries and the air launched Brahmos will provide India these capabilities.

Second, the test is a demonstration of how indigenous technical capabilities have been developed in the country. More than 100 Indian companies involving 20,000 specialists, engineers and technicians work on Brahmos manufacturing and technical modifications.
Modification of the Su-30 MKI for Brahmos integration involved safe stores separation analysis consisting of wind tunnel and CFD (computational fluid dynamics) analysis. Watertight NMG (numerical master geometry) of the aircraft had to be generated from 2D drawings.

Structural modifications had to be within the aircraft’s centre of gravity (CG) envelope and in such a way that they did not alter vibration characteristics. Carriage and release actuation along with electrical and avionics integration was another challenge. FTI (flight test instrumentation) for the operations along with missile system software modifications also had to be undertaken. All this was done by a consortium of Indian industry led by HAL.
Economic prosperity and technology prowess of a country depend on how the scientific and technological community of that country come together on projects of strategic importance. Many other agencies like RCMA, DGAQA, CEMILAC, NAL, AST, SDI, MSQAA, NEUCON, and Zeus Numerix worked together on this project.

The Brahmos integration is just the beginning. The know-how developed on this project should now be leveraged to develop an upgraded Su-30 (Super Su-30) with stronger structures, better avionics and radars and more effective combat capabilities. This can create an impregnable combat cover of at least 1,500 km depth around all Indian borders — at land or on high seas.
Brahmos missile has now achieved the challenges of integration into all three versions for land, water and air attacks. I understand that Brahmos Aerospace will now be working on the hypersonic version (5-7 Mach) with an extended range of 600 km.

Inside story: How Brahmos missile got integrated with Sukhoi 30 fighter plane
India’s Homemade Specialty Alloy to Drastically Cut BrahMos Cost

Indian defense scientists consider it a major achievement, as the BrahMos missile utilizes five different grades of wrought aluminum alloys in eight different semi-product forms, which are developed in nine different heat treatment conditions.

India has developed its own specialty aluminum alloy that is being used to construct critical parts of the BhraMos missile — the world's first and only supersonic cruise missile. The state-own Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) locally developed the alloy that was earlier imported from Russia.

This is crucial to the development and capacity enhancement of the BhraMos missile, as the manufacturers hope to make substantial cost savings with the locally developed alloy that is being used for the construction of the fuel tank and airframe of the missile.

"The series production of aluminum alloy intensive F3 section, i.e., the major load bearing section of the BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile, using indigenous materials has begun at a fabrication plant in Mumbai. The indigenous production of aluminum alloys has resulted in substantial cost savings," a DRDO official said.

"A majority of these different grades of alloys are located in the F3 section, which comprises fuel tanks and airframe," DRDO added.

The indigenous material was developed through collaboration between the Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL), a DRDO wing and BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited (BAPL), Hyderabad. The Russian team of NPOM, a joint venture partner for BrahMos, has approved the production processes and the quality control procedures of the alloy.
Earlier this month, DRDO had also announced the development of a solid propellant booster used to achieve supersonic speeds in the cruise stage of the BrahMos.

The BrahMos missile has been jointly developed by Russian and Indian scientists and is the world's first and only supersonic cruise missile. It is a precision strike weapon for the Indian armed forces that can be fitted in ships, mobile launchers, submarines and aircraft against land and sea targets.

India’s Homemade Specialty Alloy to Drastically Cut BrahMos Cost
Godrej Aerospace delivers 100th set of BrahMos airframe assemblies; bags additional order of 100 sets:

MUMBAI: Godrej Aerospace, a unit of Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Company, handed over the 100th set of airframe assemblies to BrahMos Aerospace for use in its missile systems, while also bagging an additional order of supplying 100 more sets. The BrahMos missile is a stealth universal supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from ships, submarines, aircraft and land based platforms. It can be used for precision strike to destroy targets on land and sea.

Godrej & Boyce, CMD, Jamshyd N. Godrej, said, "Godrej and BrahMos have been partners for 17 momentous years. Over that time, we have taken great pride in doing our bit for nation-building through our contribution to bolstering India's defense capabilities."

Godrej said in the initial phases, such investments are not commercially viable. BrahMos Aerospace DS, Director General, CEO & MD, Sudhir Mishra said, the wholly indigenously produced missiles which will be ready for delivery by 2020, will tap the export market - to friendly nations - to make it economical for the partnership.
However, the prerogative on which nations to export to would lie with the government of India, said Mishra.

Godrej Aerospace has been associated with BrahMos programme since its inception in 2001. Godrej is a dominant contributor manufacturing most of the metallic sub systems in the BrahMos missile. Besides the main airframe, Godrej supplies control surfaces and nose cap. Godrej also supplies the Mobile Autonomous Launchers, Missile Replenishing Vehicles for the land launched versions.

The BrahMos missile is a supersonic cruise missile with a flight range of upto 290 km. It carries a conventional warhead weighing 200 - 300 kilos. It can cruise at an altitude as high as 15 km and as low as 10 m above the ground and maintains supersonic speed (more than 1 km per second) throughout the duration of its flight. Once the BrahMos missile is fired, it doesn't need any further guidance from a control center. This makes it a 'fire and forget' missile.

Source: Godrej Aerospace delivers 100th set of BrahMos airframe assemblies; bags additional order of 100 sets - Times of India
Godrej To Begin Serial Production Of Supersonic BrahMos Missile System

Sajeet Manghat @sajeetkm
December 5, 2017, 6:49 pmDecember 5, 2017, 5:52 pm

Barely a fortnight after India successfully test fired the air version of the BrahMos missile from the Indian Air Force's frontline Sukhoi-30 MKI combat jet, Godrej & Boyce received a fresh order to supply airframe fuel management systems for the BrahMos Air-Launched Cruise Missile.
BrahMos Aerospace Ltd., a 50.50:49.50, joint venture between India’s Defence Research Development Organisation and its Russian counterpart has placed an order for an additional 100 airframes from Godrej. “We currently produce two a month, we plan to ramp it up to four in some time,” said Jamshyd Godrej, chairman of Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Company Ltd.
Godrej & Boyce, which has been associated with BrahMos since the year 2000, recently completed the supply of its 100th airframe for the missile. “It took us ten years to understand and develop the technology to master BrahMos Missile,” said Godrej. “We will deliver the additional 100 airframes in the next 3-5 years,” he added.

The company already supplies airframes for land and sea versions of the BrahMos missile to BrahMos Aerospace. Both versions have been inducted by the army and navy.

The air version currently has 65 percent of sub-systems indigenously manufactured, while a little more than 50 percent of the entire missile is indigenously produced, said Sudhir Mishra, managing director and chief executive officer of BrahMos Aerospace and director general of the joint venture DRDO-BrahMos. This indigenous component could increase to little over 60 percent in the next 1-2 years, Mishra said.
“I would like entire 100 percent of missile to be manufactured in India, but we want our Russian partners to contribute in this joint venture,” he added.

BrahMos Missile on display at the Republic Day parade. (Source: BrahMos Aerospace website)

BrahMos Aerospace is currently working on a miniature version of the missile, called BrahMos NG. The mini version of the missile is still in the design stage and development is a few years away, said Mishra.

India test fired the air version of BrahMos on Nov. 22 from air to sea. Currently, the Sukhoi can carry only one BrahMos at a time. The mini version of BrahMos will enable Sukhois to carry multiple missiles. The air force is expected to undertake a few more tests before inducting it.
BrahMos Aerospace is also looking at extending the missile’s range after India’s full membership to the Missile Technology Control Regime last year, which removed the cap on range to the BrahMos cruise missile. This will allow India to look at developing missiles with an over 300-kilometre range. In March this year, India test fired the extended range missile to hit a target beyond 400 km.

Godrej To Begin Serial Production Of Supersonic BrahMos Missile System
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BrahMos to be upgraded to 'hypersonic' in a decade: Scientist

The speeds of the BrahMos missile will be upgraded from existing supersonic to hypersonic with superior destructive capabilities in a phased manner within a decade, a top official said here on Tuesday.

"Presently, the BrahMos has a speed of 2.8 Mach... in two years time it would be increased to 3.5 Mach, and by five five years, it would be 5 Mach," said BrahMos Aerospace Pvt.Ltd. (BAPL) Managing Director & CEO Sudhir Kumar Mishra.

Thereafter, to go to hypersonic mode, it is likely to take another seven-ten years as the missiles would graduate from ramjet to scramjet engine, and considering other complex issues of aerodynamic heating, combustion, vibrations, etc, he said.

Mishra was speaking at a function to mark Godrej Aerospace Ltd's handing over of the 100th set of airframe assemblies to BAPL, and bagging another order to produce 100 more units of airframes of the Air Launched version of the missile and launch of its production.

"Making the BrahMos missiles itself was a challenge and we have done ita and we shall upgrade as per the needs," said Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Company Ltd Chairman and Managing Director Jamshyd N. Godrej.

Mishra also said that the hypersonic BrahMos missiles would change the scenario as it would have immense destructive power besides in increased speed.

Besides, the Missile Technology Control Regime (MRCR) regime have allowed India to trade in high-end missile technology and enhance its JVs with Russia.

To a question whether India was considering exports of BrahMos to friendly nations, he said there is a set of users (Indian armed forces) with which the company is working, but the issue of exports would be decided at the government levels.

In its current supersonic avatar, the BrahMos cruise missiles has a flight range of upto 290 kms and it can be armed with a conventional 200-300 kg warhead.

It can cruise at altitudes of 10 metres above ground or as high as 15 kms maintaining supersonic speeds of more than a km per second throughout the flight duration.

As a "fire and forget" stealth universal supersonic missile, once it is launched, it doesn't need any further guidance from a control centre.

It is versatile enough to be fired from land-based platforms, submarines, and ships like the Talwar Class, Rajput Class and Sukhoi aircraft, for precision strikes to destroy targets on land and sea.

Godrej Aerospace has been associated with the BrahMos missiles program since inception in 2001, manufacturing most of the metallic sub-systems in it, the main airframe, control surfaces and nose cap, besides Mobile Autonomous Launchers and Missile Replenishing Vehicles for the land launched versions.

The first successful BrahMos was launched on June 12, 2001 from a terrestrial launched at an interim test range off Chandipur cost in Odisha.

Source - BrahMos to be upgraded to 'hypersonic' in a decade: Scientist
"Presently, the BrahMos has a speed of 2.8 Mach... in two years time it would be increased to 3.5 Mach

Anybody remembers what i recently said .new fuel.. and longer burning rate and still reach 3.8M with upper cap of 4M.

Looks like i underestimated and now its upto 5M plan...
Anybody remembers what i recently said .new fuel.. and longer burning rate and still reach 3.8M with upper cap of 4M.

Looks like i underestimated and now its upto 5M plan...

2.8 to 3.5 Mach -> by using the newly developed solid-state fuel for the booster
3.5 to 5 Mach -> using new materials and increasing the pressure inside the second stage chamber

He said in four years, the speed could even reach 5 mach, which could be attained by optimising the materials and engines of the missiles. But beyond 5 mach the present engine of BrahMos cannot be used. It will require a scramjet (supersonic combustion) engine, which needs seven to ten years to develop.

BrahMos missiles may reach speeds of 3.5 mach in two years: CEO Mishra

The new materials would help in increasing the max outlet temperature to increase the thrust. Another possibility would be optimizing the acoustic waves in the chamber.
Godrej bags order for 100 BrahMos supersonic missile airframes
Godrej Aerospace on Tuesday said it has won an order for 100 units of airframes for the air-launch version of the BrahMos missile from BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture between India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Military Industrial Consortium NPO Mashinostroyenia, a Russian aerospace enterprise.

The first deliveries are expected to start from 2020, the company said, without disclosing the financial details of the order.

Godrej has delivered a set of 100 airframe assemblies to BrahMos to fulfil an earlier order that it had won about five years ago.

The BrahMos missile is the world’s fastest, stealth, universal supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from ships, submarines, aircraft and land-based platforms. It can be used for precision strikes to destroy targets on land and sea.

Last month, the missile was flight-tested successfully for the first time from the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) front-line fighter aircraft, the Sukhoi-30MKI. The missile was tested against a sea-based target in the Bay of Bengal.

Godrej contributes most of the metallic sub systems in the BrahMos missile. It supplies all components other than the main airframe, control surfaces and the nose cap. It also supplies mobile autonomous launchers and the missile replenishing vehicles for the land-launch versions. FE
Godrej bags order for 100 BrahMos supersonic missile airframes
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BrahMos with the canister.

Packed canister with BrahMos to be fitted in VLS

BrahMos without wing deployed in initial launch stage

BrahMos model with its Canister

Closeup Pics of BrahMos wing folding mechanism

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This is how an interception of sea-skimming missile looks like:
Cruising altitude of most anti-ship missiles is a few meters above sea level, making it hard for fire control radar to detect and track 'em.

Similar profile is followed by BrahMos . The ship-launched anti-ship version of BRAHMOS missile can fly at supersonic speed barely 3-4 meters above the surface of the sea making it ideal for stealth attack.
Brahmos - A stepping stone towards Great Power Status - Pakistani Writer
Monday, December 11, 2017
By: Daily Times

The Indian Air Force (IAF) successfully test fired an air-launched BrahMos-A supersonic cruise missile from a Sukhoi Su-30 MKI multirole air superiority fighter jet on November 22.

BrahMos is a joint venture between India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Russia’s rocket design bureau NPO Mashinostroyeniya. The IAF, from January 2018, has signed a contract with Russian company for the delivery of air-launched BrahMos missile. Along with that three Su-30 MKI jest have been modified where in total of 50 Su-30MKI aircraft will be modified to carry nuclear-capable cruise missiles. There is also an estimate that IAF will induct at least 200 BrahMos attuned fighter jets for years to come.

Expert Kyle Mizokami has included this weapon in the list of the 5 most deadly missiles of all time in his article published by the US magazine National Interest. So not only this, BrahMos Aerospace has been engaged with seven countries in Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East for selling Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jets armed with BrahMos.

Over the years, India has been developing a series of missiles: Prithvi with a range of 150-350 km range was first tested in 1988; Agni-II with a range of 2000 km tested first in 1999; BrahMos with a range of 290 km was first tested in 2001; Agni-1 was tested in 2002 with 700 km range; Agni-3 with range of 3000 km first tested in 2006; K-15 submarine launched with 700 km first tested in 2008; Agni-4 tested first in 2010; 150 km range Prahaar ballistic missile first tested in 2011; Agni-5 with 5000 km range first tested in 2012; and Nirbhay cruise missile with 700 km first tested in 2013.

This continuous modernisation of missile programs and diversification of delivery vehicles, specifically cruise missiles, is likely to aggravate the arms race further and will increase instability in the subcontinent

Behind the curtain, the Kremlin is in fact continuing to arm India. So apart from flowing huge amount of lethal weapons that Moscow is selling to India is in fact making their duo more concrete setting dangerous precedent in the region. These jointly developed arm systems are not only making Indian armed forces more capable, but also setting a new precedent in the region for technological advancements.

Specifically, such advancement of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile needs to be observed in closed quarters by regional players, and its likely impact on the geopolitical hot spots. Certain areas such as the Himalayan region, the eastern Indian Ocean and the South China Sea, are the choke points where strategic interests will overlap with India and a number of Southeast Asian neighbours.

Among the other advantages which India gained by developing it is that it can be delivered from air, BrahMos’ improvements would fortify India’s capability to stab deep into China’s and Pakistan’s territory, which has already been ramped up with the purchase of five Russian-built S-400 long-range air defence missile systems.

At the same time, this development by the Indian side will negatively impact deterrence stability in a number of ways. Cruise missile development with supersonic capabilities could place at risk a wide set of targets to precision strikes, lowering the nuclear threshold during crisis. This has prospects for weakening arms race stability. As its accuracy and range already been increased, with this development India could consider counterforce targeting options, thereby providing increased incentive to enlarge further their nuclear stockpiles.

Still drawbacks remain, this continuous modernisation of missile programs and diversification of delivery vehicles, specifically cruise missiles are likely to aggravate the arms race further and will increase instability in the subcontinent. India must understand that such developments would further increase anxieties among regional players in the region and their resolve to compete with each other.

Hence by the development of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile the implications are profound which shows that capabilities have diversified and grown to a new level of extent, conditions for war avoidance and crisis management have changed or may no longer apply, making deterrence stability more difficult to reinforce in crisis.

New Delhi have been concurrently developing new types of missiles and military doctrines, stimulating additional sources of insecurity in South Asia. In short, India is leading South Asia towards an unprecedented yet unimaginable danger. Massive military spending along with sophisticated technological innovation, India is stepping up towards great power status. It has been using military power as a coercive tool in achieving its strategic ambitions.

Writer's contact: [email protected] (The writer is pursuing M.Phil degree at the Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad.)
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Work on structural modification to equip Sukhois with Brahmos will be completed by 2020

The work to integrate the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile on 40 Sukhoi combat aircraft has begun and a timeline for the project is being set, official sources said.

“The work is expected to be completed by 2020 and will fulfil the needs of the Indian Air Force,” UNI cited a source as saying.

The air-launched variant of Brahmos, the world’s fastest supersonic cruise missile, was successfully test fired from a Sukhoi-30 combat jet on 22 November, marking a major milestone to enhance the precision strike capability of the Indian Air Force.

The fleet of 40 Sukhoi jet will undergo structural modifications at the state-run aerospace major Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) for integration of the missile on them.

The 2.5-ton missile flies almost three times the speed of sound at Mach 2.8 and has a range of 290 km.

The range of the missile, an Indo-Russia joint venture, can be extended up to 400 km as certain technical restrictions were lifted after India became a full member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) last year.

The Brahmos missile is the heaviest weapon to be deployed on India’s Su-30 fighter aircraft.

Once the project to integrate the weapon on the combat fleet is completed over, the IAF capability to strike from large stand-off ranges on any target in sea or land is expected to go up manifold.

“It is a very important project considering IAF’s evolving requirement to boost air power when the possibility of a two-front war cannot be ruled out,” an official told PTI.

After the test firing of the air-launched version, the IAF had said the missile coupled with the superlative performance of the Su-30 aircraft will give the force a strategic reach and will allow it to dominate the ocean and the battle fields.

The integration of the missile on Sukhoi aircraft is a very complex process involving mechanical, electrical and software modifications of the Su-30 jet.

Brahmos is a joint venture between DRDO of India and NPO Mashinostroyenia (NPOM) of Russia.

Source : Work on structural modification to equip Sukhois with Brahmos will be completed by 2020
NAL bailed out BrahMos ALCM when Russians asked for the Moon

Bengaluru, Dec 28: India rightly celebrated ‘BrahMostav’ of a different kind when the frontline striker Sukhoi Su-30MKI fired a modified BrahMos supersonic cruise missile for the first time recently.

The feat of a Su-30 MKI, piloted by Wg Cdr Prashant Nair taking off from Kalaikunda Air Force Station on November 22, 2017, carrying the 2.5-tonne Brahmos missile and returning to the base after piercing the target in less than an hour, has already found a place in the history books.

But there’s a missing link to this piece of inspiring military history.

One name that missed out the pressers and headlines prominently was National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), a leading laboratory under Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), based out of Bengaluru.

It was NAL who bailed out the BrahMos Aerospace during 2013-14 period, when the greedy Russians were asking for the moon to conduct a series of wind-tunnel tests ahead of the actual integration of the BrahMos Air Launch Cruise Missile (ALCM) on to Su-30MKI.


Military sources now confirm to Mathrubhumi that the Russians demanded ‘exorbitant charges’ to carry out these tests, a first-time experience even for them, since India was the first country to integrate a supersonic cruise missile on to fighter jet.

The Russians are said to have quoted over Rs 1300 crore with no commitment on transfer of technology. The Indian team, consisting of members from BrahMos, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and the Indian Air Force (IAF), then turned to NAL for help.

NAL, with their extensive knowledge of carrying out wind-tunnel experiments for various national military and space missions, accepted the challenge and delivered the test results at 120th the cost of what the Russians had sought for.

How NAL executed the challenging task

For NAL, it was a first-time-experience to undertake drop test of stores from a Su-30MKI aircraft model. At their 1.5m low-speed wind tunnel, using Froude Scaling principles, the scientists carried out tests at low speeds of (M<0.3).


A Su-30 MKI model, the largest aircraft model, was designed, fabricated and commissioned at a record time at NAL’s National Trisonic Aerodynamic Facilities (NTAF). [A trisonic wind tunnel is capable of testing flight vehicles at subsonic, transonic and supersonic speed ranges].

The study provided the ideal conditions for the stores release at actual flight Mach numbers including the deflection setting angles for the fore and aft fins.

The software developed allowed tracking of the time-resolved displacement, velocity, acceleration and Euler angles. The composite image of the missile was recorded at four different instances along the trajectory.

NAL used appropriately scaled models of Su-30MKI and BrahMos missile for testing in low speed and high speed wind tunnels. Aerodynamic loads on the isolated missile loads were measured in the 2-ft wind tunnel and the same model was attached to the aircraft model.

Later, the aerodynamic loads on the complete configuration was determined in the 4-ft wind tunnel simulating flight Mach number range of 0.55 to 1.2 conditions at various angles of attack and sideslip to ascertain installation effects, store load in carriage position and in aircraft interference flow-field.

Store separation critical for airborne missions

Those associated with the ALCM mission from the early days say that the store separation of the weapon is the critical milestone for any airborne weapon program.

Highly specialized and complex tests such as ‘Dynamically Similar Tests’ or ‘Drop tests’ were conducted for the first time in India at the Experimental Aerodynamics Division of NAL.

In ‘Drop tests’ the missile model is dropped in the wind tunnel simulating aircraft speed, altitude and other parameters and separation trajectories are analysed. These tests were crucial for getting clearance for the BrahMos separation trials.

The wind tunnel tests were conducted in phases in 4-ft and 2 ft trisonic wind tunnels of NTAF. For the store separation tests, grid studies were carried out in 4-ft trisonic wind tunnel in NTAF to see the effect of BrahMos on the Su-30MKI aircraft model in carriage position.

The team also undertook air-intake studies to study whether the presence of the missile affects the performance of the air-intakes of the Su-30MKI. NAL was also involved in the crucial task of envelope expansion of the aircraft with the launcher, developed by BrahMos Aerospace Thiruvananthapuram Ltd.

When cross-checked, the complete test results even surprised the Russians who acknowledged that NAL findings were better and more accurate than what they had derived at.

NAL’s wind tunnel results matched very well with the results of the actual flight data. The capabilities developed are now being applied to other airborne weapon integration programmes.

The path-breaking tests fetched NAL the Best Laboratory Award in 2014 from BrahMos, presented by former President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam. Interestingly, India has named the hypersonic version of BrahMos after Dr Kalam.