The Indian Army has successfully test launched an advanced variant of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile at the Pokhran test range in Rajasthan, India.
Launched from a mobile autonomous launcher (MAL), the BrahMos Block III variant followed the prespecified trajectory and successfully pierced the designated ''concrete structure at bull's eye'', Press Trust of India reported.
Unnamed BrahMos officials were quoted by the news agency as saying: ''The Block III variant of BrahMos with deep penetration capability is fitted with a new guidance system, and the launch by the army has successfully validated the deep penetration capability of the supersonic cruise missile system against hardened targets.''
Two regiments of the Block III variant, which has demonstrated its supersonic steep dive with precision strike capability in mountain operations, has already been inducted by the army in its inventory, whereas induction of the third regiment is currently underway.
Developed by BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture between India's DRDO and Russian NPO Mashinostroyenia, BrahMos is a 290km range stealth supersonic cruise missile, designed for launch from land, ship, submarines and air platforms.
Based on the Russian-built P-800 Oniks / Yakhont supersonic anti-ship cruise missile, the missile has a speed of Mach 2.8, which equates to nearly three times the speed of sound, and can carry a conventional warhead of up to 300kg.
Powered by a solid propellant rocket, BrahMos features a liquid-fuelled ramjet to sustain supersonic cruise, and is capable of intercepting surface targets by flying as low as 10m above the ground, even in mountainous terrain and hills.
The BrahMos is already in service with the Indian Army and Navy, while flight tests of the air-version are expected to be soon carried out by the Indian Air Force (IAF).
Image: the Indian Army's BrahMos missiles mounted on mobile autonomous launchers. Photo: courtesy of Hemantphoto79.