New Delhi: The Indian Army has test fired a land-attack version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile at a firing range near Pokhran in Rajasthan. The test, according to defence ministry sources, was aimed at fine-tuning its use as a precision strike weapon.
"The test was successful, meeting all parameters,'' said a defence ministry official.
The BrahMos is a tactical supersonic cruise missile. Given the current tensions between India and Pakistan over the terror strike on Mumbai last year, it is likely that the BrahMos may play a definitive role in any Indian 'surgical strike' across the border. Unlike in the past, when any such responsibility would have automatically been in the air force's domain, the BrahMos has now become a 'game changer' as far as conventional warfare is concerned.
The current test would have been aimed at readying the army's BrahMos regiment for a precision strike role which this land attack cruise missile (LACM) can carry out with great finesse.
The test comes shortly the two-stage, liquid fuel ramjet-propelled missile, with a strike range of 290-km, was test-fired for the first time from a vertical launcher on a warship in the Bay of Bengal in December last year.
This successful test firing gave the BrahMos a "universal missile" status as a vertical firing capability allows the missile to be launched at targets in a 360 degree zone. The army land attack version is already capable of being fired in a vertical launch mode.
The Army has begun induction of the BrahMos LACM version, with the first battery already entering service in June 2007. Each battery comes equipped with four road-mobile autonomous launchers on 12x12 Tatra vehicles.
It is not clear whether the version fired today is the same one with which the army's BrahMos batteries are already equipped.
India and Russia are already developing a "hypersonic'' BrahMos-2 version which will be capable of speeds between Mach 5 and 7.