INDIAN defence scientists will conduct advanced flight tests of at least three missiles — BrahMos, Akash and Trishul — by the end of 2004, in their intensified efforts to convince the users to go in for induction of these indigenously developed missiles.
In the case of BrahMos, the supersonic cruise missile, its newer version of `Ground to Ground', aimed at hitting land targets is slated to be test-fired in December, said Dr Prahlada, Project Director of the prestigious Indo-Russian joint initiative missile development programme.
Early this month, the anti-ship (naval) version of BrahMos, completed trials when it successfully achieved mid-air manoeuvre and hit a decommissioned ship, off the Orissa coast. It is now ready for induction, Dr Prahlada told Business Line.
The production facility for the missile is already in place and "we can deliver one missile every month. The Navy has expressed its Letter of Interest," he said.
The BrahMos missile has also attracted international interest at various defence expos in Singapore, Australia, Abu Dhabi and South Africa, where it was exhibited. However, a decision to export to any country has to be taken by the Indian Government, Dr Prahlada said.
Given the accuracy and demonstrated capability of the BrahMos supersonic missile, which has a range up to 290 km and high speed, the induction by the Indian Navy could considerably boost its strike power and defences.
Referring to the overall missile development programme, Dr Prahlada, who is also the Director of the Hyderabad-based, Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), said, "The programme has matured and capability to test fire and manufacture them as per user demands has been achieved."
He said Akash, the surface-to-air missile, and Trishul, the short-range, surface-to-air missile are slated to be test fired between November and January next respectively.