The supersonic cruise missile system BrahMos, which is a joint venture between India and Russia, has caught the attention of countries like Argentina, Venezuela, Chile and Brazil in Latin America and also of South Africa, which is part of the BRICS grouping, because it has been developed at a low cost of $300 million.
Sources have told the FE that there have been preliminary discussions with these countries. Venezuela’s willingness to procure the supersonic missile (the air version) jointly produced by India and Russia will be on the agenda of talks when Prime minister Narendra Modi visits that country later this year.
The LatAm countries have been in talks with officials from BrahMos and expressed interest in mobile autonomous launchers for coastal defence batteries, ship-based weapon complex for submarines and frigates. Recently, the Brazilian Navy official had discussions with the BrahMos officials about the possibility of buying the missiles from India.
Last year, Modi had stated that India should move towards self-reliance in producing military weapons and systems and also look for exporting them to friendly nations.
BrahMos is a supersonic cruise missile developed by DRDO and Russian NPO Mashinostroyeniya. The missile could be launched from surface, submarine or air. Latin American countries as well as South East Asian countries have expressed their interest for the missile particularly for their naval and coastal defence.
The agreement for development of the advanced BrahMos system by India and Russia allows the use of the missile by the armed forces of both the countries, as well as for export to other friendly countries.
After Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) handed over the first BrahMos-A missile-integrated Su-30MKI aircraft to the Indian Air Force, Indian and Russian designers concentrated on creating the supersonic mini-BrahMos (BrahMos-M) which will be marketed as BrahMos-NG (Next Generation) missiles, meant to boost the defence capability of India’s Navy and Air Force.
Developed by the DRDO, NPO Mashinostroyeniya of Russia and BrahMos Aerospace, the new missile will have lighter weight and smaller diameter in comparison with BrahMos-A. Equipped with a compact engine it will reach speeds of Mach 3.3, carrying a payload of 300 kg to a range of 300 km. With a weight of 1.4-1.6 tons and a length of 6 m, the BrahMos-NG will be a breakthrough as it will meet the requirements of both the Indian Navy as well as the Indian Air Force.
BrahMos is expanding production to meet expected demand for thousands of missiles. “Our second manufacturing facility is ready and additional facilities are coming up,” says Praveen Pathak, general manager for market promotion and export.
On a larger scale, BrahMos Aerospace is confident that BrahMos-NG will open a huge potential market for the company, with specifications that very few competitors will be able to match.