Saturday, December 3, 2011

And now the hypersonic version of BrahMos, the most powerful cruise missile ever

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Nov 28: The new version of the BrahMos missile, now under
development in the city, can deal a lethal blow to targets as far away
as 290 km in flat two minutes.

The hypersonic version of the BrahMos achieved a maximum speed of Mach
6.5 or six and a half times the speed of sound in air during
laboratory experiments here. Before it is ready for field trials in
2016, DRDO teams involved in the BrahMos Aerospace Project want to
increase the speech by Mach 0.5 to Mach 7 or 8365 km per hour. Since
this cruise missile has a flight range of about 290 km, it can hit the
target in flat two minutes.

A Mach is the speed of sound in air and is calculated at 1195 km or
717 miles per hour.

BrahMos missile has two versions – supersonic and hypersonic (BrahMos
II). The hypersonic version with speeds greater than Mach 5 is under
development in the city. Even at Mach 2.8, the maximum speed BrahMos
supersonic missile achieved during its test flight on August 12 this
year makes it the fastest cruise missile in the world. At Mach 7, the
hypersonic version will be way ahead of all cruise missiles developed
so far by any country.

"We have completed tests up to Mach 6.5," BrahMos Aerospace Private
Limited Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Dr A Sivathanu
Pillai said in Chennai. The target is to achieve Mach 7, he added.

BrahMos can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft or land. The
air and submarine versions are under development.

However, for BrahMos to achieve hypersonic speeds in real field trials
scientists need to make certain changes to its components. A new
engine need to be designed, which could withstand such high speeds and
high temperature. Moreover, there will be a lot of vibration and the
components need to withstand it.

India wants to integrate BrahMos with Sukoi-30MK-I for the air launch.
Once the integration part with changes in the aircraft is over,
BrahMos will be ready for launch from the air. According to defence
officials here, trial flights are likely to be conducted in the new

BrahMos is being manufactured in Pilani and Thiruvananthapuram,
besides Hyderabad.

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