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Russia, India to develop new BrahMos cruise missile

RIA Novosti

29/09/2008 15:56 NEW DELHI, September 29 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and India will jointly develop a new BrahMos-2 hypersonic cruise missile, the head of the BrahMos company said on Monday.

"Today, at a meeting of the Russian-Indian intergovernmental commission on military-technical cooperation, we decided to set up a working group on the development of the BrahMos-2 missile," the company's CEO, Sivathanu Pillai said.

"The new hypersonic missile will have a top speed of over Mach 5, which would make it impossible to intercept," he added.

Established in 1998, BrahMos Aerospace, a joint Indian-Russian venture, produces and markets BrahMos supersonic missiles, whose sea-based and land-based versions have been successfully tested and put into service with the Indian army and navy.

Pillai said that the company had finished the development of the airborne version of the BrahMos missile and the Indian air force had chosen the SU-30 MKI Flanker-H multirole fighter as a trial platform for the missile.

The BrahMos missile has a range of 290 km (180 miles) and can carry a conventional warhead of up to 300 kg (660 pounds). It can hit ground targets flying at an altitude as low as 10 meters (30 feet) and has a top speed of Mach 2.8, which is about three times faster than the U.S.-made subsonic Tomahawk cruise missile.

The head of BrahMos Aerospace earlier said that the recent acquisition of an assembly plant in the state of Kerala from Kerala Hightech Industries Ltd, in addition to the main plant in Hyderabad, would allow the company to increase production to 50 BrahMos missiles a year and fulfill orders from the army on schedule.

Analysts estimate that India could purchase up to 1,000 BrahMos missiles for its armed forces in the next decade, and export 2,000 to other countries during the same period.

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