BrahMos Aerospace said it has developed two additional - air and sub -surface - variants of its supersonic cruise missile, also called the BrahMos. According to a top scientist, the agency was also on course to develop a hypersonic version of the missile.
BrahMos Aerospace chief executive and managing director, A Sivathanu Pillai, said the company would take up the BrahMos II project under a major expansion programme that will see the production of hypersonic missiles.
Hypersonic missiles can cruise at speeds of Mach 5-7. The current version travels at a speed of 2.8 Mach.
Meanwhile, two new variants of the current model have already been developed and are in various stages of approval and test firing. "We are very close to the launch of the underwater version and the navy has to ready the requisite platform for the testing," Pillai said. Pillai was speaking to the media in Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu.
For the air version, the development systems were ready and the integrated test would be undertaken after mock firing. However, the launch of the air version and commercial production would take some time as certain structural modifications were yet to be made in the Russian-built Sukhoi aircraft.
"We have already completed 15 flights successfully and are waiting for the availability of the modified design in Sukhoi which has to reduce other pay loads," Pillai said.
In this regard he mentioned that a special high powered committee, comprising of experts from the Indian Air Force, the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and BrahMos Aerospace had been constituted to carry out the required modifications.
The agency has already developed four versions of the missile in ship-to-ship, land-to-land, land-to-ship and ship-to-land versions.