General Studies IIISecurity

India’s BrahMos Missile System


The Philippines government recently allocated 2.8 billion pesos ($55.5 million) for initial funding for the BrahMos Missile System (Cruise)

Key Highlights:

  • The Philippines is set to become the first foreign customer for the BrahMos cruise missile system jointly developed by India and Russia,
  • The government of Philippines  recently allocating 2.8 billion pesos ($55.5 million) for initial funding for the weapon system.
  • A team from the Philippine Navy visited the production unit of BrahMos Aerospace in Hyderabad earlier this month as part of the acquisition process.
  • India and the Philippines signed an “implementing arrangement” to facilitate government-to-government deals on military hardware and equipment, including the BrahMos missile, which has a range of 290 km and can carry a 200-kg warhead.
  • India had offered a $100-million line of credit to the Philippines for defence purchases.
  • India has been in talks with several Southeast Asian countries, including Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam, in recent years to sell them land and sea-based versions of the BrahMos. India has set an ambitious target of achieving defence exports worth $5 billion by 2025.

About BrahMos Missile System:

  • The BrahMos Missile of the Indian Armed forces is a medium range supersonic cruise missile developed by DRDO and Russia.  
  • BrahMos was named after two major rivers of India and Russia: Brahmaputra and Moskva.
  • The technology used in this joint venture is based on the Russian P-800 Oniks cruise missile and similar sea-skimming cruise missiles from Russia
  • This missile can be launched from submarine, ships, aircraft or land. It is notably one of the fastest supersonic cruise missiles in the world
  • It is the world’s fastest anti-ship cruise missile currently in operation.The land-launched and ship-launched versions are already in service. An air-launched variant of BrahMos appeared in 2012 and entered service in 2019. 
  • A hypersonic version of the missile, BrahMos-II, is also presently under development with a speed of Mach 7–8 to boost aerial fast strike capability.
    • It was expected to be ready for testing by 2024.
  • India wanted the BrahMos to be based on a mid range cruise missile like the P-700 Granit. Its propulsion is based on the Russian missile, and missile guidance has been developed by BrahMos Aerospace. The missile is expected to reach a total order of US$13 billion
  • In 2016, as India became a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), India and Russia are now planning to jointly develop a new generation of Brahmos missiles with 800 km-plus range and an ability to hit protected targets with pinpoint accuracy. In 2019, India upgraded the missile with a new range of 650 km with plans to eventually upgrade all missiles to a range of 1500 km
  • On September 14, 2021, it was reported that the government would set up a BrahMos manufacturing unit between Lucknow and Jhansi. The setting up of the manufacturing unit will help in providing employment to the surrounding area.

Technical Details of BrahMos missile system

BrahMos is a medium-range 2 stage missile. The propulsion of BrahMos can be explained as follows:

Stage 1Solid Propellant Booster Engine Is separated after it reaches MACH-1 or Supersonic speed
Stage 2Liquid Ramjet Engine Takes the missile close to MACH 3 in cruise phase

Special Features of BrahMos

  • Stealth Technology
  • Advanced guidance system
  • High Target Accuracy (irrespective of weather conditions)
  • Constant supersonic speed
  • Operates on ‘Fire and Forget’ Principle
  • BrahMos can be launched from land, aircraft, ships, and even submarines.
  • One of the heaviest missiles, weighing up to 2.5 tonnes

Ballistic Missile vs Cruise Missile

Ballistic MissileCruise Missile
Travel in projectile motion and trajectory depends on gravity, air resistance and Coriolis Force.Comparatively follows a straight trajectory of motion.
Leave the earth’s atmosphere and re enter it.The flight path is within the earth’s atmosphere.
Long-range missiles (300 km to 12,000 km)Short range missiles (range upto 1000 km)
E.g. Prithvi I, Prithvi II, Agni I, Agni II and Dhanush missiles.E.g. BrahMos missiles

List of important Missiles which are used by Indian Armed Forces or they are currently at different stages of development:

Types of MissilesName of the MissileType of MissileOperational RangeSpeed
Air-to-air missilesMICAAir-to-Air Missiles500 m to 80 kmMach 4
Astra MissileAir-to-Air Missiles80-110 kmMach 4.5 + 
Novator K-100Medium Range air-to-air missile300–400 kmMach 3.3 
  Surface-To-Air MissilesTrishulShort-Range surface to air missile9 kmThere were problems in this missile as it could not hit its targets. Hence, this programme was officially closed in 2008 by the Ministry of Defence (MoD). This missile was not inducted by the Indian Armed Forces. India, decided to import Barak Missiles from Israel.
Akash Missile (There are 3 Variants at different stages of development – Akash-1S, Akash Mark-II, Akash-NG)Medium-range surface-to-air missileAkash -1S (18 – 30 Km) Akash Mk-II (35 – 40 Km) Akash-NG (More than 50 Km)Mach 2.5 to 3.5 
Barak 8Long-Range surface to air Missile100 kmMach 2 
Prithvi Air Defence (PAD)exo-atmospheric interceptor missile2000 kmMach 8 
Surface-to-surface MissilesAgni-IMedium-range ballistic missile700-1250 kmMach 7.5
Agni-IIIntermediate-range ballistic missile2,000–3,000 kmMach 12 
Agni-IIIIntermediate-range ballistic missileAround 3,000 km5–6 km/s 
Agni-IVIntermediate-range ballistic missileAround 4,000 kmMach 7 
Agni-VIntercontinental ballistic missileAround 5,000 kmMach 24 
Prithvi IShort-Range Ballistic Missile150 km 
Prithvi IIShort-Range Ballistic Missile350 km 
DhanushShort-Range Ballistic Missile350 – 600 km 
ShauryaMedium-Range Ballistic Missile750 to 1,900 km 
PrahaarShort-Range Ballistic Missile150 km 
Cruise MissilesBrahMosSupersonic cruise missile290 kmMach 2.8 to 3 Mach
BrahMos IIHypersonic cruise missile450 – 600 kmMach 7 
NirbhaySubsonic cruise missile1,000 – 1500 kmMach 0.8 
Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) Systems / Interceptor MissilesPrithvi Air Defence (PAD)Exo-atmospheric Anti-ballistic missileAltitude – 80 kmMach 5+
Prithvi Defence Vehicle (PDV)Exo-atmospheric Anti-ballistic missileAltitude – 150 kmMach 4.5 
Advanced Air Defence (AAD) /Ashwin Ballistic Missile InterceptorEndoatmospheric Anti-ballistic missileAltitude – 30 km  
  Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles    
Sagarika (K-15)Ballistic MissileAround 750 Km  
K-4Ballistic MissileAround 3,000 km  
K-5Ballistic MissileAround 5,000 km  
  Anti-Tank MissileAmoghaAnti-Tank Guided Missile2.8 km 
NagAnti-Tank Guided Missile500 m – 4 km230 m/s 
HelinaAnti-Tank Guided Missile7 – 10 km


Source: Hindustan Times

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