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IAF Chief surprises India’s enemies as he declares that IAF has BrahMos-equipped Sukhois in almost all squadrons

Source : The Hindu

IAF Chief surprises India's enemies as he declares that IAF has BrahMos-equipped Sukhois in almost all squadrons
An Indian Air Force Sukhoi Su-30MKI with a single BrahMos-A air launched supersonic cruise missile under its belly (File Photo)

IAF Chief surprises India’s enemies as he declares that IAF has BrahMos-equipped Sukhois in almost all squadrons

New Delhi: Supersonic cruise missile BrahMos should not be considered only a tactical weapon but as a strategic weapon given its potential, Indian Air Force (IAF) Air Chief Marshal (ACM) V. R. Chaudhari said on May 31.

“As the situation unfolded on the northern borders three years ago, we realised that the potent weapon can be used very effectively for land attacks. We therefore equipped more squadrons with these BrahMos modified aircraft. Today, we have BrahMos modified aircraft in almost all squadrons across the IAF…,” ACM Chaudhari said, speaking at a BrahMos event. “The combination of BrahMos on the Sukhoi Su-30 has really given us tremendous capability that has enhanced our firepower. It has made the deterrence value of the IAF go up by leaps and bounds.”

“As one of our most lethal air combat assets, the BrahMos supersonic missile has really galvanised the way we will equip ourselves with precision firepower in the coming years,” the ACM said, adding, “Seeing the conflicts that are happening across the globe, the importance of precision, long range firepower can’t be underscored.”

In January 2020, the IAF inducted the 222 ‘Tiger Sharks’ squadron consisting of modified Sukhoi Su-30 MKI fighter jets in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, armed with the air launched BrahMos missiles. Of the 272 Su-30MKIs contracted by the IAF, 40 were initially to be modified to carry the air launched BrahMos. However, it is not immediately clear how many additional aircraft are being modified for this purpose.

“Going forward, what we are looking at is the next generation (NG) BrahMos or a smaller version that can be fitted on to the smaller platforms like MiG-29, Mirage 2000 or even the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA). This is an area where we need to really focus our energies to develop a smaller in cost, primarily [a] smaller weapon, with the same reach and lethality,” the ACM stated.

The current air launched missile weighs 2.65 tonnes, which will come down to 1.33 tonnes with the BrahMos-NG that is under development, defence sources had said. With this, a Su-30MKI will be able to carry up to four BrahMos-NG missiles, while the LCA will be able to carry two missiles, as reported by The Hindu earlier. According to the IAF, the air launched BrahMos is a 2.5 tonne supersonic air-to-surface cruise missile with range of more than 400 km and a maximum speed of 2.8 mach.

“Along with the upgraded BrahMos and forthcoming BrahMos-NG, this will remain the primary deterrent weapon possessed by the IAF,” ACM Chaudhari said.

The land and sea variants of BrahMos were operationalised much earlier. The original range was 290 km, in line with the limitations of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). After India joined the grouping in June 2016, the range was extended to 450 km, and it’s to be further extended to 600 km.

BrahMos is a joint venture between India and Russia and named after Brahmaputra and Moskva rivers. The development trials of an anti-shipping variant began in 2003, and combat trials began in 2005.

“Today, the nation is at the cusp of transformational changes, and we are witness to the growing stature of the country in the international environment and higher expectations from the world community. Due to our legacy issues of unsettled borders and related security challenges, possession of strategic deterrence instruments in our case is essential,” Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Pande said, speaking at the event. IAF Chief surprises India’s enemies as he declares that IAF has BrahMos-equipped Sukhois in almost all squadrons IAF Chief surprises India’s enemies as he declares that IAF has BrahMos-equipped Sukhois in almost all squadrons IAF Chief surprises India’s enemies as he declares that IAF has BrahMos-equipped Sukhois in almost all squadrons IAF Chief surprises India’s enemies as he declares that IAF has BrahMos-equipped Sukhois in almost all squadrons IgMp

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