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Indian BrahMos Makes Token Appearance At ADAS 2016

September 30, 2016

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The firm behind one of the world’s deadliest cruise missiles was in Manila this week to advertise their only product. In what appears to be a serious effort at exporting a world-class missile system, especially among countries near China, BrahMos Aerospace put on a lavish exhibit in their corner of ADAS 2016 located behind South Korea’s pavilion.

It’s worth mentioning only two Indian companies participated in the same arms show.

Visitors were treated to several scale models of the BrahMos in its various guises. Though an actual inert BrahMos missile was absent (this is understandable with its nine meter length) one could see a BrahMos attached to the bomb bay of an Su-30MKI.

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On a pedestal near the Sukhoi was the BrahMos on its 12×12 mobile autonomous launcher. When configured for either coastal defense or targeting enemy command centers, the BrahMos come in threes. The exhibitor made sure to display the BrahMos’ compatibility with naval platforms, be they nimble missile boats, submarines, or destroyers. This is good news for the Philippine Navy who are determined to launch two new frigates in the coming years as part of its 15-year modernization program.

The BrahMos is a cruise missile based on the Soviet-era P-800 equipped with a ramjet engine to reach extreme speeds. In 1998 Russia and India launched a joint venture worth $250 million for the sole purpose of developing a supersonic multirole cruise missile that could hit targets 300 kilometers away; an average range by any measure. What made the BrahMos worrisome was its trajectory when fired. As an anti-ship system it would skim the surface of the water but move fast enough at almost Mach 3 to evade anti-air and missile defenses. Deterring a BrahMos is an exercise in frustration and a single hit on a large surface combatant would prove catastrophic.

The BrahMos was operational by 2006 and adopted by the Indian Army and Navy the following year. It will soon be available to the Indian Air Force. BrahMos Aerospace’s newfound affection for the Philippines isn’t too out of the ordinary since there’s a genuine plan by the Indian government to find paying customers for its most successful domestic weapon system. As of this writing there hasn’t been an announcement whether BrahMos is being acquired by the Philippines.

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