Why BrahMos cruise missile on IAF planes is a gamechanger in Indo-Pacific

 | Updated: Apr 26, 2022, 04:20 PM IST

The air-launched missile is the heaviest and most powerful weapon in IAF's arsenal. 


The Indian Air Force(IAF) had earlier conducted "live firing" of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from a Su30- MKI fighter aircraft.

The IAF said the missile hit a decommissioned Indian Navy ship. The exercise was undertaken in "close coordination" with the Indian Navy.

The air-launched missile is the heaviest and most powerful weapon in IAF's arsenal. 

The government had moved to integrate the BrahMos jet into Sukhoi fighter jets in 2016 in order to enhance IAF's air capability. The IAF had inducted the first Sukhoi-30MKI fighter aircraft squadron at the Thanjavur airbase in Tamil Nadu.


BrahMos at Mach speed

According to BrahMos Aerospace, BrahMos is a two-stage missile with a solid propellant booster engine as its first stage which brings it to supersonic speed and then gets separated. 

The liquid ramjet or the second stage then takes the missile closer to 3 Mach speed in cruise phase. 


BrahMos cruise missile

The missile is fitted with stealth technology and guidance system with advanced embedded software which provides the missiles with special features. 

The missile maintains supersonic speed all through the flight, leading to shorter flight time, consequently ensuring lower dispersion of targets, quicker engagement time and non interception by any known weapon system in the world. 




222 Squadron, the Tigersharks

Earlier, the IAF had said that Sukhoi fighters were the second frontline fighter squadron to be based in south India.

The latest batch of Sukhoi jets are armed with the indigenous developed BrahMos cruise missiles.

IAF had earlier announced the resurrection of the 222 Squadron of Tigersharks with the Sukhois.


Indian Ocean Region (IOR)

The presence of the elite fighter jets in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) will give India the strategic edge with the central maritime spread, bordering three continents.

The Sukhoi fighters will be equipped with 2.5 ton air-launched BrahMos missile with a target range of over 300 kms giving the Indian Air Force formidable firepower.


Asia's biggest port at  Djibouti

India's decision to deploy the supersonic Sukhoi fighters in south India is mainly to keep an eye on China with the Communist country opening its first overseas naval base in Djibouti located in the horn of Africa. China has built Asia's biggest port at  Djibouti with an eye to control the Indian Ocean region.

The "Tigersharks" can also keep a watch in China's influence along Sri Lankan waters as India seeks greater military ties with the emerald country in order to counter China.

India also has to keep an eye on the Karachi port which is a major strategic military outpost for the Pakistan armed forces.


New super fighters

The Indian Air Force hopes to bring about a paradigm shift with the deployment of the new super fighters. The jets are expected to bring about a new strike capability in the Indian Ocean Region which has a sizeable Chinese presence.

Interestingly. the Sukhoi's will serve an important "maritime role" with the jet's enhanced capability to launch attacks in all-weather conditions including during the day and night.


Jets back in 2004

The Sukhoi 30 MKI which was formely built by Russia but now it is being made by India's Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).

Russia had given permission to India to build the jets back in 2004 with the new generation Sukhoi's expected to form the backbone of the IAF in the new decade.