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BrahMos missile for Navy by next year

M. Somasekhar

Hyderabad , March 28

WITH the Indian Navy placing orders, the BrahMos Aerospace, a Indo-Russian joint venture missile production company, is gearing up to strengthen its facilities both in India and Moscow, according to Dr A. Sivathanu Pillai, its Chief Executive Officer.

BrahMos Aerospace will deliver the first of the Anti-Ship Brahmos supersonic missile systems to the Indian Navy by 2005 and subsequently fulfil the order. Production facilities are being established in both the countries, he told Business Line here.

More than two-dozen private and public sector Indian companies and several from Russia have formed a consortium to manufacture the 290-km-range missile, which does not have an equivalent in the international market, the BrahMos CEO said.

The anti-ship version of Brahmos, first tested in 2001, would be inducted by the user in a record four years' time. This has been made possible due to this unique collaborative venture, which has seen a combination of mutual strength, Dr Pillai explained.

During trials carried out the Brahmos Anti-Ship missile has been thoroughly tested through launches from aboard a ship and also from mobile launchers on shore, with `good' results. "Almost all trials were successful," he said.

Once inducted, for the Indian Navy it would offer greater firepower and faster strike capability. The Brahmos missile will reach its target at a third of the time compared to conventional missiles currently available, Dr Pillai said.

Encouraged by the fast progress achieved by this maiden venture, BrahMos has taken up the next version of supersonic missile - air launched, especially from the Sukhoi 30 aircraft. The missile will be directed towards land targets. "We will work on two versions again - Ship to Shore and Air to Ship with the same speed capabilities," the CEO said.

The big advantages of the joint venture, Dr Pillai explained, were: pooling of technological capabilities, sharing costs of setting up production and manufacture and combining expertise during the development and trial phases.

This model has helped in ensuring high performance quality, cost competitiveness, delivery on time, shortening development time and finally giving leadership to the country in this strategic area, the BrahMos Chief said.

Created in 1999 with funds from both India and Russia, BrahMos Aerospace plans to further strengthen capabilities in the two countries, involve strong private-public sector linkages and work towards making the missiles more combat potential, Dr Pillai said.

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