New Delhi: The Indo-Russian BrahMos supersonic land attack cruise missile is due to be formally inducted into the Indian Army on June 21. According to official sources, the missile will be handed over to the army chief, Gen JJ Singh, in New Delhi in the presence of President, APJ Abdul Kalam, defence minister, AK Antony and finance minister, P Chidambaram.
President APJ Abdul Kalam's presence on the occasion is fitting in more ways than one, as he is widely considered to be the pioneer who initiated the BrahMos project with Russia and signed the agreement with the Russian government for the missile's development in his earlier capacity as chief scientific advisor to the government of India.
With a range of 290 km, the land version of the missile completed its 14th test from the missile testing facility at Chandipur in Orissa on April 22. The test established the missile's high reliability and operational capabilities, defence sources had said.
With its induction, the army will become the second service to operationalise the missile, after the Indian Navy. The missile has been inducted onboard the navy's Kashin -class destroyers.
A slightly miniaturized version is currently being developed for the Indian Air Force, for use onboard its Su-30MKI combat jets.
The BrahMos will be the third missile class to become part of the army's inventory. It has already operationalised the Prithvi surface-to-surface missile with a range of 150 to 250 km, as well as the 700-km medium-range Agni-I missile.