The first contract for the export of BrahMos cruise missiles will be signed once the coronavirus pandemic ends, since such a deal requires an in-person government meeting, co-director of the joint Russian-Indian venture BrahMos Aerospace Alexander Maksichev told Sputnik.
“As for the possibility of concluding the first export contract for the BrahMos missiles, we have managed to agree on many things. Nevertheless, to finalize the agreement, a face-to-face meeting at the government level is necessary, which should take place as soon as the situation with the pandemic improves. We can say that the contract is at the final stage of approval and will be signed very soon,” Maksichev said, without naming the buyer.
He added that once the export contract is signed, the governments of India and Russia will make a relevant announcement.
“The company is working on this and is fully prepared to meet the requests of foreign customers as they come in,” Maksichev said.
In June, BrahMos Aerospace said that it plans to sign $1 billion worth of new contracts by the end of the year, which would take the company’s yearly total up to $6 billion.
BrahMos Aerospace, established in 1998, specializes in producing cruise missiles and supporting equipment, such as launchers and missile guidance systems.
Earlier in the year, Indian Foreign Secretary Vardhan Shringla had stated that India and Russia have developed a strong partnership in the defense industry, exemplified by a wide range of cooperation programs, ranging from joint arms production to technology transfer.
“The two sides are working very closely on the development, the manufacturing of the Brahmos missile system, which is licensed production in India, of Sukhoi aircraft, T-90 tanks. If you see our Republic Day parade on January 26 this year, a lot of the platforms you saw were Russian platforms. That is a measure of cooperation that we have in the defense sector,” he said.
Meanwhile, Maksichev in February 2021 also stated that BrahMos Aerospace is mulling over a lighter version of BrahMos missile for India’s Tejas fighter jet.
“Russian-Indian company BrahMos Aerospace is considering a possibility of creating a lightweight version of the Brahmos for the Tejas fighter. We will inform you as soon as everything is ready,” Maksichev said on the sidelines of Aero India 2021.
According to Maksichev, there is an interest in such a missile. “Our missile has adapted well to the Su-30, and now the new Indian Tejas jet is under consideration as a carrier of our missile. Therefore, there is a wish of the Indian side to adapt the missile,” he explained.
The Brahmos missile was developed in 1998 in a joint venture between the Indian DRDO (Defense Research and Development Organization) and Federal State Unitary Enterprise NPO Mashinostroyenia of Russia in an inter-government agreement.
Brahmos can be launched from land-based mobile vertical launchers, while its variants can also be fired from warships, as well as fighter jets. It can attack and disable targets from as far as 290 kilometers when launched, by flying as low as five meters in altitude or at 1,400 altitudes as the maximum with a speed of Mach 2.8.
Some of the nations in South-East Asia including the Philipines, Thailand and Vietnam are speculated to be potential customers for the BrahMos missiles.