India hopes to co-develop a new smaller, faster version of its Mach 3-capable BrahMos supersonic anti-ship missile with Russia. The country also hopes to export versions of the missile to other countries such as Venezuela, Vietnam and Indonesia according to Indian press reports.
“We are hoping to sign a tripartite agreement between DRDO [Defence Research and Development Organisation], NPOM lab and BrahMos Aerospace during the planned visit of Russian president in December,” Sudhir Mishra told the Press Trust of India.
The new missile would be roughly half the size of the current BrahMos, which was derived from the Russian NPO Mashinostroyeniya P-800 Onyx. The BrahMos is a 6,600 lbs weapons measuring 27.5ft in length with a 441 lbs warhead. There are versions that can be launched from the sea, air or land.
Compared to the older variant, the new smaller version of the BrahMos would not only be faster at Mach 3.5, it would not sacrifice much in terms of range. It is expected to have a range of around 162 nautical miles. The original BrahMos is thought to have a range of anywhere between 162 nautical miles and 270 nautical miles.
Both versions of the BrahMos will be available for sale to third parties. India is expected to sign a pact with Vietnam to supply defense equipment later this month. Meanwhile, India already has an existing defense ties with Indonesia.
The U.S. Navy considers the BrahMos missile, which is one of the fastest anti-ship missiles currently in existence, to be a particularly dangerous threat.
Part of the reason for that is the BrahMos missile’s particular flight path on terminal approach, but naval sources would not elaborate to USNI News.