BrahMos: The Recent Improvements


The DRDO has been successful in modifying the BrahMos cruise missile whose successful launch from the Sukhoi Su-30 MKI frontline fighter aircraft has completed India’s cruise missile triad. It had been inducted into the navy and military in 2005 and 2012 respectively.

About the BrahMos Missile

The BrahMos is a short-range ramjet supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarines, sea, land, and air. It is a joint venture between the Russia and India. The missile derives its name from the two rivers-the Brahmaputra and the Moskva.The Brahmaputra is a river which originates in Tibet, where it is called Tsangpo, and flows through the northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam from where it enters Bangladesh and meets the river Padma before entering the Bay of Bengal.The Moskva is also a river which flows through western Russia.


Important features of BrahMos missile:


  • Principle of Operation:

The BrahMos missile operates on the “Fire and Forget Principle”. It means the missile guidance does not require further guidance after the launch and still hits the target without the launcher being in line-of-sight of the target.


  • Cruise Missile:

Missiles can be categorised into two variants: Ballistic and cruise.

Ballistic missiles like Agni missiles are the ones that follow an arch-like trajectory and are usually designed to carry nuclear warheads. They are launched from the land or the sea and rely on Earth’s gravity to fly down once launched.

On the other hand, the cruise missiles can be launched from the air and can fly in the atmosphere. They have their own wings and engines to strike the target and thus are more accurate in targeting their target. Although cruise missiles mostly carry conventional warheads, they can also carry nuclear warheads.


  • Supersonic:

The term “sonic” means something denoting to sound waves. Thus supersonic movement is the one which travels faster than the speed of sound i.e., 343 m/s at 20o C.

The BrahMos cruise missiles can attain the speed up to 3 Mach or 1029 m/s in the air and thus fly at supersonic speeds.


  • Engine:

The BrahMos is a two-stage missile with a solid propellant booster as its first stage which gives the missile a supersonic speed.The second stage is the liquid ramjet that is responsible for taking the speed of missile closer to 3 Mach speed.


These are, however, a basic feature of the BrahMos missiles. The DRDO has been engaged in developing the missile with certain modifications and improvements which would increase the range and make it suitable for it to be inducted on fighter jets.

The new air-launched version of the missile has the following advancements over the earlier ones:

It has far lesser weight and additional rear fins for aerodynamic stability during separation from the aircraft during the launch.

The missile currently has a range of approximately 480 km and further advancements are being made which would increase the range of missiles to up to 900 km.

The successful completion of  India’s cruise missile triad can certainly be termed as a major success of the DRDO in the recent years. It would definitely provide a boost to the striking capabilities of the Indian air force and thus provide India with an upper hand during conventional wars.


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