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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Sea-based BrahMos missile hits ground target in test launch

RIA Novosti

05/03/2008 16:21 NEW DELHI, March 5 (RIA Novosti) - A sea-based Russian-Indian BrahMos supersonic cruise missile has successfully hit a designated ground target for the first time, a spokesman for the Indian manufacturer of the missile said on Wednesday.

"The missile was launched from INS Rajput at a target located on an island in the Andaman archipelago and hit the designated target," a spokesman for BrahMos Aerospace said.

This was the first test of a sea-based BrahMos missile against a ground target. All the previous test launches were aimed at sea-based targets, according to the spokesman.

In 1998, Russia and India established the BrahMos Aerospace joint venture to design, develop, produce and market a supersonic cruise missile.

The Brahmos missile, named after India's Brahmaputra River and Russia's Moskva River, has a range of 180 miles (290 kms) and can carry a conventional warhead of up to 660 pounds. It can hit ground and sea targets while flying at an altitude as low as 10 meters (30 feet) and at a speed of Mach 2.8, which is about three times faster than the U.S.-made subsonic Tomahawk cruise missile.

The INS Rajput guided missile destroyer serves as the trial ship for the BrahMos cruise missile, which is expected to carry part of the strategic second-strike capability of the Indian armed forces.

The missile was first tested successfully against sea-based targets in 2004. Its sea-based version was adopted in June 2006 and deployed on Project 11356 Talvar-class (Kryvack) destroyers, including INS Rajput, built in Russia for the Indian Navy.

However, it took Russian and Indian experts a while longer to develop the missile so that it was capable of destroying ground targets.

Work is currently underway to create aircraft- and submarine-based BrahMos missiles.

The airborne version could be installed on the Sukhoi-30MKI air superiority fighters belonging to the Indian Air Force.

Experts estimate that India might purchase up to 1,000 BrahMos missiles for its Armed Forces in the next decade, and export 2,000 to third countries during the same period.

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