The Indian government last week inked a Rs 11,600-crore agreement that will pave the way for formal induction of the Brahmos missile into the Indian Air Force (IAF), besides giving two more regiments of the supersonic land attack system to the Army, reports Indian Express.
While the missile is already in service with the Navy and Army, this is the first time that a surface-to-surface version of the missile will be inducted into the IAF.
This will give the IAF a cutting edge over adversaries in the region and will arm it with the capability of taking out enemy radars and other air defence installations without even sending fighters across the border.
Top sources said the multi-crore agreement with Brahmos Aerospace, a joint venture between the DRDO and Russian company, would enable factory production of advanced versions of the cruise missile that can be launched from aircraft, submarines, ships and land.
Capable of attaining speeds between 2.5 and 2.8 mach, Brahmos missiles have a range of about 290 kilometres.
“In the next couple of years, we will have different versions of the Brahmos in all the three services,” sources said.
Last week's contract for the IAF is in addition to another project to develop a smaller version of the missile for the SU 30 MKI fighter for a land attack role.
After the Prithvi missile, this will be the second land attack missile in the IAF's arsenal.
While the primary user of the surface-to-surface version of the missile is the Army — two additional regiments for the land force were cleared last week — it also has a unique role for the IAF.
“The Air Force felt the need to have a precision land attack missile to take down specific targets,” an official said. The initial order is likely to be for one squadron of the missiles followed by more.
Significantly, the IAF has ordered the Block II advanced version which can home in on a particular land target amongst a group of similar targets, making it the only supersonic cruise missile with such precise strike capabilities.