Even as the first Rs 15-crore BrahMos supersonic missile is expected to be fitted on an Indian Navy ship next year, Sivathanu Pillai, CEO and MD of BrahMos Aerospace and chief controller (R&D) DRDO, on Sunday expressed confidence that the missile variant for the Indian Air Force (IAF) could be ready in three years.
Pillai,who was here for the 56th convention of the Aeronautical Society of India, told reporters that it was the only supersonic anti-ship missile in the world since the US and Germany were still working on theirs.Developed for a global market, it is being marketed accordingly by the JV company, BrahMos Aerospace Pvt. Ltd., he said.
The first missile will be fitted on an Indian Navy ship next year, at a time when air trials will also begin, to meet the needs of the IAF. The JV company has received a letter of intent and an advance from the Navy on the basis of which it has begun production, Pillai said.
The anti-ship, naval variant allows for land-to-sea and ship-to-ship launch. The first markets for the missiles are the armed forces of the two countries, although there has been a good deal of interest in the equipment. The declaration made during president V. Putin's recent visit, of infusing an additional $50 million, will facilitate the air trials.While a variant for the IAF is expected to take four to five years, Pillai was confident that they would be able to speed up the delivery.
"We will need to reconfigure or reduce the booster for an aircraft. There are some design changes which need to be developed. The missile will fly on the SU-30 and though the project is expected to take four to five years, we are confident we can do it in three years," Pillai said.
He added that the missile will be produced by 20 Indian and 10 Russian consortium companies, which have been identified. "We wanted to ensure that the joint development works, so the two countries identified a consortium of manufacturers who will produce the missile," he said.
Under this approach, 20 Indian companies, seven in the public and 13 in the private sector, and 10 Russian companies have been identified.
These companies have made their own investments for the production, which is expected to be sizeable in numbers. The 290-km range, liquid fuel charged, 3-tonne missile will carry a warhead of 200-kg conventional high explosive.
The pre-emptive cruise missile is a weapon of first strike, being a tactical weapon. The naval version is ready for production having undergone eight tests. The army and the air force variants will both require modifications. BrahMos Aerospace Pvt. Ltd., the 50.5: 49.50 per cent JV company was set up with an initial corpus of $250 million to develop the mobile launch complex. The Russian equity is being contributed through the diversion of India's loan repayment to the Russians.
Pillai explained that the venture will use the new concept of government-owned, company operated (GoCo). "This is still a concept, where the product and the producer have been identified. Once the number of missiles to be produced increases, and production capacity needs to be augmented, then it will be manufactured in this consortium.
Now, everything for the Brah-Mos is within the JV company," he said.