|The BrahMos supersonic cruise missile has been jointly designed, developed and produced by India and Russia|
India on Sunday successfully test fired the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from the indigenously-built stealth destroyer INS Chennai, with the weapon hitting a pre-designated target in the Arabian Sea, the defence ministry said in a statement.
The 290-km range missile --- an Indo-Russian joint venture --- has land, air and naval variants.
“The missile hit the target with pin-point accuracy after performing high-level and extremely complex manoeuvres. BrahMos as prime strike weapon will ensure the warship’s invincibility by engaging naval surface targets at long ranges, thus making the destroyer another lethal platform of Indian Navy,” it said.
The missile has a top speed of Mach 2.8 --- nearly three times the speed of sound.
Defence minister Rajnath Singh congratulated the Defence Research and Development Organisation, BrahMos and the Indian Navy for the successful launch.
India has test-fired a string of weapons during the last two months in the midst of the ongoing tensions with China in the sensitive Ladakh sector.
Sunday’s test came days after India test-fired an extended-range BrahMos supersonic cruise missile that can hit targets 400 km away. The range has been increased from the existing 290 km. The extended-range variant was tested from the Integrated Test Range at Balasore in Odisha on September 30.
The configuration of the existing missile --- the world’s fastest supersonic cruise missile --- has been tweaked to enhance its range. Increasing the missile’s range became possible after India’s induction into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in June 2016.
Commissioned into the navy in November 2016, the 7,500-tonne INS Chennai incorporates new design concepts for improved survivability, stealth and manoeuvrability. The warship can carry 16 BrahMos missiles in two eight-cell vertical launch systems, besides other sophisticated weapons and sensors, officials said.
Other weapons recently tested by India include a new version of the nuclear-capable hypersonic Shaurya missile with a range of 750 km and the anti-radiation missile to take down enemy radars and surveillance systems.