India to build BrahMos 3 for Russia

Brahmos is a joint-venture project between Russia and India.

Brahmos is a joint-venture project between Russia and India.

Boris Egorov
Russia, which already has the Oniks missile system, is unsure whether it will induct the BrahMos Block III cruise missile. But given that it has opted to buy the Su-MKI, designed for India, it is likely it will also buy the BrahMos to equip the fighter aircraft.

The Indian Army has the cruise missile Brahmos Block-III, one of the most lethal weapons systems that currently exist in the world, the publication ‘Defence News’ writes. This cruise missile is capable of flights at supersonic speeds, making it hard for enemy radar to track, as well as being practically invulnerable to modern anti-missile and air defence systems.

Brahmos Block-III is a joint Russian-Indian project, which is based on the P-800 Oniks missile, which is exported under the name ‘Yakhont’. This, however, has not stopped the specialists at ‘Defence News’ from comparing it with its Chinese analogue; the DF-21; and finding major advantages in the Russian-Indian missile.

The Brahmos Block-III is superior to the DF-21 in all respects, and is likely to soon capture the global market, say experts. Both these missiles are designed as destroyers of ships, with the Chinese DF-21 often being called the “killer of aircraft carriers”.

Pyotr Topychkanov, senior researcher at the Safety Centre of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations RAS, said there is an important point in making such comparisons; the DF-21 project has gone much further, in terms of development, in contrast to the Brahmos Block-III, which is still in the prototype stage.

“Accordingly, it is not yet clear when, and in what form, the Brahmos Block-III will be placed into service. Perhaps, according to the announced specifications, it really is superior to the DF-21, but how this project will finally evolve in real terms is difficult to say, and thus comparing these two missiles is very difficult,” said Topychkanov.

The expert notes that the Brahmos is a joint-venture project between Russia and India, and the Indians, according to the documents that form the core of this project cannot go it alone on this missile, including in the development of any or all of its components.

“From this perspective, we cannot say that the Indians are venturing out on their own, and creating their own missile,” said Topychkanov.

The Indians are calculating, the expert notes, that the Brahmos Block-III missile will become one of their best-selling exports.

“At the same time, according to the original agreement signed between Russia and India, it was assumed that this rocket would be purchased not only by India, but also by Russia. However, a while ago, Moscow began rethinking this decision, as Russia has its own Oniks system, and this has become a stumbling block in the path of manufacturing and selling of the Brahmos Block-III missiles on the world arms market.”

There is another precedent that may be recalled; the multi-functional fighter Su-30MKI. It was designed exclusively for Indian military requirements, but then, there was a decision to also purchase it for the needs of Russia’s Aerospace Defence Forces.

The same fate probably awaits the Brahmos Block-III, especially since it is closely connected with the Su-30MKI project.

“Now that Russia has decided to buy the Su-30MKI aircraft, the Brahmos missiles have a good chance of coming into service with the Russian Armed Forces. The fact is that this year, they are planning to carry out the first live testing of the Brahmos air-based missiles that were designed just for the Su-30MKI fighter jets. So this project is being implemented, in one way or another, in the interests of the armed forces of both India and Russia,” said Topychkanov.

Based, therefore, on the fact that Russia is going to buy the Su-30MKI, according to  Topychkanov, it may be easily concluded that Moscow is considering arming these aircraft with the Brahmos Block-III missiles.

This project again displays how this military cooperation with India is beneficial also for Russia, in the case of both the Su-30MKI, and Brahmos-Block-III.

In addition, we must not forget about the export version of the T-50 platform; the fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA fighter jet) which, in the coming years, will be developed for the needs of the Indian Air Force.

This project will yield for Russia a new version of the fifth-generation fighter, which will be significantly different from the aircraft which will enter into service in the Russian armed forces this year.

First published in Russian by FBA Ekonomika Segodnya.

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

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