The Indo-Russian BrahMos supersonic missile program has made its mark in the international arena with a series of successful launches and subsequent rapid induction by the Indian Army and Navy. Now an air version of the missile is currently under development and will be fitted onto the Su-30MKI platform when ready. AVIATION WEEK caught up with BrahMos Aerospace CEO and Managing Director A. Sivathanu Pillai to learn more.
AW: Indian media has often hailed your role in making BrahMos a major hit. What do you think has led to your successes so far?
A.S.P.: Joint venture BrahMos is built upon the technological synergy of strengths of the two nations – India and Russia. Moreover, the superiority of the product such as Speed, Precision and Power has ensured the realization of this high-tech product and attracted the users to go for induction of the system in the shortest possible time. It can be proudly said that the Indian Army is the only land force in the entire globe to have a supersonic maneuverable land-attack cruise missile regiment.
AW: Could you please give an update on the program? How many missiles (squadrons) have the Army and Navy inducted?
A.S.P.: As you are aware, the development of both antiship and land-attack versions of BrahMos had been completed successfully and we are in the process of delivering the systems to the Navy and Army. Recently, contracts have been signed for induction of the mobile complex for Indian Army and Indian Air Force. Further orders are in the pipeline. The number of systems will depend on the force strength the services need to have.
AW: What kind of additional orders are we talking about for Army and Navy? What’s the order value?
A.S.P.: As BrahMos will be the first strike weapon with punch, there will be a greater number of ships, mobile launchers and aircraft fitted with the missile. Our order value will exceed $5 billion.
AW: When will the hypersonic version come out? What’s the latest from this front?
A.S.P.: The hypersonic version is on the drawing board and mutual discussions are in progress. We would like to freeze the design aspects in the near future. The realization of the missile would be taken up. Probably five years down the line, we can start testing of the missile.
AW: What kind of role are private industries playing in the success of BrahMos?
A.S.P.: BrahMos is an ideal example for the public-private industries consortium. Many industries had been identified in both India and Russia for manufacture of subsystems. Industries have become the production partners and are extending full support in the timely manufacture of the systems/subsystems. In short, the Missile Industry Consortium has been established in both the countries.
AW: Over the last two years BrahMos Aerospace Thiruvananthapuram Ltd. (BATL) has taken shape in Kerala. Where do you see BATL in the next couple of years?
A.S.P.: BATL was established as a leading aerospace industry and a role model for Kerala. It is expected to grow in the coming years. BATL is primarily for supporting various projects of BrahMos, Defense Research Development Organization and Indian Space Research Organization. In addition, we will be supporting Bhabha Atomic Research Center for the robotic system and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) for engines. The Phase-II expansion will begin after we get additional land and the Phase-III thereafter. The first fully-integrated BrahMos missile is expected to roll out from BATL by 2012.