Work toward hypersonic cruise missiles: Kalam

Friday, 22 June 2007, 07:00 Hrs
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New Delhi: The Indian Army Thursday inducted the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile India and Russia have jointly developed, with President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam describing it as "world-class product" for the "international market" and urging scientists to work towards its second generation hypersonic version.

Speaking at a ceremony here at which he handed over the land version of BrahMos to the Indian Army, Kalam noted that it was for the first time in Indian history that a "world-class supersonic missile that the world needs has been made available by the scientific and industrial community well ahead of time.

"With such capability, I believe that we have to aggressively market this world class product," he added.

The army chief, Gen. J.J. Singh received the missile. Defence Minister A.K. Antony was among a large number of dignitaries who attended the function.

According to the president, "the time has come for (manufacturer) BrahMos Aerospace to work on the Mark-II version of BrahMos so that you will still be the market leader in hypersonic cruise missiles."

In the emerging network centric warfare scenario, "the fast deployment of hypersonic missile systems will be necessary to maintain our force level supremacy," Kalam added.

He also visualised long-range hypersonic cruise missiles "not only delivering payloads but also returning to base after the mission, leading to a re-usable class of cruise missiles within the next decade".

In this context, Kalam urged the three services to work with the BrahMos Aerospace team "to evolve the QR (qualitative requirement or parameters) for such a system in a time bound manner".

BrahMos, named after the Brahmaputra and Moskova rivers, was developed by a joint venture established in February 1998 between India's Defence Research and Development DRDO (DRDO) and Russia's NPO Mashinostroyenia. Kalam had initiated the project as the then DRDO head.

The naval version of the missile has already been inducted while the air force version is under development.

BrahMos, which operates on a 'fire-and-forget' principle, has a range of nearly 300 km and carries a warhead of 300 kg. It can achieve speeds of up to Mach 2.8.

Noting that the BrahMos joint venture "is indeed a great template for international cooperation", the president said: "This is a unique cooperation, conceived and implemented for combining the core competence of India and Russia for realizing a high technology product in an extremely competitive global defence market with minimum investment (of $125 million) from each side".

The "robust" design, development and manufacture of BrahMos had been accomplished by Indian and Russian R&D teams, academia and industry, in partnership with the armed forces through intense connectivity and partnership, the president noted.

"The core competencies of both the countries have thus been a mission mode" to realize the state-of-the-art missile system for world market. The combined efforts, particularly design robustness, have ensured that every flight conducted was a total success, which is unique in this field," the president said.

According to him, BrahMos will "definitely enhance the fighting capability of the army and the soldiers will have the pride of using an indigenously developed missile system.

"I am sure the BrahMos team will keep up the development spirit and continue to provide state-of-the-art systems to the armed forces," Kalam added.
Source: IANS
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