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India, Russia to make 1,000 BrahMos missiles

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, July 21, IRNA
India and Russia intend to make 1,000 BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles over the next 10 years through their joint venture company, with nearly 50 per cent of them expected to be sold in third countries, defence sources said Friday.

"We already have a capacity to produce 100 missiles a year. One thousand missiles in 10 years is a reasonable target. Nearly 50 per cent will go to exports," PTI report said here quoting defence sources.

India and Russia have so far invested $ 300 million in BrahMos Aerospace, which was established to design, develop, produce and market the missile by using the technological skills and capabilities of both countries.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had earlier announced that BrahMos (named after the Brahmaputra and Moskva rivers) had been inducted into the Indian Navy.

BrahMos Aerospace CEO A Sivathanu Pillai said that the missile's land-based version is expected to be inducted into the Army in 2007.

Pillai, who is also the chief controller of research and development in the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), said that the company was undertaking a project to install BrahMos missiles on the Sukhoi-30MKI combat jets of the Indian Air Force.

"Now, we are fitting one BrahMos in the belly (of the Su-30) to start with. With certain reinforcement of the wings, we can fit up to three," he said.

Pillai said the joint venture company, established in India in 1998, is now looking at an upgraded version of BrahMos but added that no final decision has been taken.

He however, hinted that one area of focus could be increasing the speed of the missile. "It can be speed", he said.

Noting that BrahMos is the world's only supersonic cruise missile -- others are subsonic -- and that there is no competition for it, he stressed the need for retaining the competitive edge.

The 2.5 tonne BrahMos has a strike range of 290 km and has a maximum speed of Mach 2.8 (one km per second).

Pillai said BrahMos would be sold in third countries "very soon" but did not name the nations or give any time frame.

He said the price of BrahMos depends on several variables like "country-to-country (relations), political situation and credit line." "There is no competition for BrahMos. Our prices are competitive." 2160/1420

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