On 12 June 2001, a relatively unknown missile, jointly developed by India and Russia, blasted off from its canister at the Integrated Test Range of the Defence Research and Development Organisation in Orissa’s Chandipur and roared majestically into a clear sky breathing out orange plume and leaving behind a cloud of smoke.
It was, perhaps, the first time that the defence minister and all the service chiefs were present to witness the test launch of a missile.
Twenty years later, this missile — BrahMos — has evolved, as its makers say, into a ‘brahmastra’, becoming a critical component of the offensive firepower of the Indian Army and the Indian Navy. The Indian Air Force is close to inducting its air-launched version, and the missile may even find a foreign buyer soon.
The Block-I of land-based version of the BrahMos was tested in the mid-2000s. By June 2007, the Indian Army had inducted the first missiles into its arsenal.
According to BrahMos Aerospace, one land-based weapon complex of the cruise missile has four to six mobile launchers, a mobile command post and a mobile replenishment vehicle. Each autonomous launcher has three canisters.
“The missiles can be fired in single or salvo of 2 to 3 seconds within four minutes of receiving command,” the maker of the missile says.
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