The BRAHMOS is a short-range supersonic cruise missile, that can carry nuclear warhead. It was jointly developed by India and Russia. The BRAHMOS Aerospace joint venture was established in 1998 and started working on the project. The acronym BRAHMOS is an abbreviation of two rivers, the Brahmaputra of India and Moskva of Russia. The missile was first test fired in 2001.
The BRAHMOS entered service with the Indian armed forces in 2006. This missile has been adopted by Indian Army, Navy and Air Force. Some sources report that Indian armed forces have a total requirement for about 1 000 of these missiles. This cruise missile is also being proposed for export customers from 14 countries.
The BRAHMOS is based on the Russian P-800 Oniks supersonic anti-ship cruise missile. The missile is 9 m long and has a diameter of 0.7 m. It has a two-stage propulsion system. It uses solid-fuel rocket booster for initial acceleration and liquid-fuel ramjet for sustained supersonic cruise. The booster is ejected by the airflow after it has burned out.
This missile has a range of 290-300 km. It can carry nuclear warhead, or 200-300 kg conventional warhead. The range is limited to 300 km, as Russia is a signatory of the Missile Technology Control Regime, which prohibits it from helping other countries develop missiles with ranges above 300 km.
The BRAHMOS is one of the fastest cruise missiles in the world. It travels at supersonic speed and can gain a speed of Mach 2.8 (3 430 km/h). This missile was developed primarily as an anti-ship missile, however there are also land attack versions. This cruise missile has GPS/GLONASS/GAGAN satellite guidance. It uses US, Russian or Indian navigation satellites and has a pin-point accuracy. At a maximum range it can hit a target as small as 1.5 x 1.5 m. It is a fire-and-forget type missile.
The BRAHMOS has the capability to engage targets from a very low altitude. It uses Russian sea-skimming cruise missile technology and can fly at altitude from 5 to 14 000 meters. Also it can maneuver at supersonic speed before hitting the target. Close-in weapon systems might not be effective against BRAHMOS, as it travels too fast. Also this missile can be used in electronic countermeasures environment. So it might be a hard nut for air defense systems to intercept.
The missile has vertical launch configuration. However, if required this missile can be launched at any angle through 360 degrees.
A land-based BRAHMOS is carried and launched from a mobile TEL, base on a Tatra T816-6MWR8T 12×12 chassis. Vehicle carries 3 missiles. The TEL is operated by a crew of 3. A typical battery consists of 3-4 launcher vehicles, command post and associated reloading vehicles. The BRAHMOS can be also mounted on ships, submarines and aircraft.