Saturday, January 16, 2021

BrahMos Goes Global; After Indonesia, Brazil Could Arm Its Saab Gripen Jets With The ‘Lethal’ Missile

As India continues with its series of extensive missile tests since September, the world has been keeping an eye on the country’s missile developments. The most popular of all, the BrahMos, has already attracted the attention of various nations including, the Philippines.

BrahMos Goes Global; After Indonesia, Brazil Could Arm Its Saab Gripen Jets With The ‘Lethal’ Missile

Now, Brazil has evinced interest in procuring the BrahMos-NG (New-Generation) version of the missile.

While initial talks already began regarding the acquisition of the missile systems, the pandemic is believed to have delayed the acquisition, according to The Financial Express. Even South American nations such as Chile, Argentina, and Venezuela are eyeing BrahMos.

The BrahMos — a portmanteau formed from the names of India’s Brahmaputra River and the Moskva of Russia — is a supersonic cruise missile developed from the P-800 Oniks, in a joint venture between the Indian DRDO and the Russian NPO Mashinostroyeniya.

HYPERSONIC-MISSILE

Brazil has been looking forward to buying the missile systems to equip its under-construction nuclear attack submarines. Seeing the success of BrahMos, which is currently the only effectively operational supersonic anti-ship cruise missile in service, the country made its decision.

A Brazilian official was quoted as saying, “Because the existing fleet of submarines will undergo mid-life refit as well as capability enhancements. And these platforms can be a potential user for BrahMos-NG.”

The BrahMos-NG is intended to be a mini-version of the existing BrahMos, being lighter and shorter while still having a range of about 300 km. It would be India’s premier air-to-surface missile and would arm most of its fighter fleet which includes the Su-30MKI, LCA Tejas, MiG-29UPG, MiG-29K, and even the Dassault Rafale.

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Being shorter, the missile would also arm future submarines of the Indian Navy. It is likely that the missile would be fully developed in the next two years and would feature an AESA radar, rather than the existing mechanically scanned one on the earlier BrahMos variants.

The Brazilian official also said that the missile could arm the new Gripen single-engine fighter aircraft, giving them superior firepower and strike abilities.

“For Brazil, the Indo-Russian missile BrahMos-NG can be a suitable choice for their new Gripen aircraft. The new BrahMos-NG systems are designed for a wide range of fighter aircraft platforms with best in class specifications,” he stated.

“The Brazilian aircraft Embraer can also be a suitable platform for BrahMos –NG,” he added.

While the development of this ‘New Generation’ variant of BrahMos is still behind the curtain, the Brazilian interest does indicate that the work is making progress at BrahMos Aerospace. Indeed, the system is one of the flagship offerings of India for its export market, along with the LCA Mk-1A and the LCH.

As of now, the Russian and Indian governments are cooperating to refine their export strategies. About the venture, a top officer of Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) had told Financial Express Online that “it is a ‘precious gem’ in the defense cooperation between India and Russia. And can be exported to other countries after all the intergovernmental procedures have been cleared”.

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