Indian Navy's next order for seven submarines, a follow-on order to the six French-designed Scorpenes already under various stages of construction at French and Indian shipyards, will all be armed with the sub-surface version of the Indo-Russian supersonic BrahMos cruise missile. This was stated by Alexander Dergachev, chairman of board of directors of the BrahMos Aerospace joint-venture.
Expressing the hope that the submarine order would be placed soon enough Dergachev said,
''The missiles will be made for submarines of the Indian Navy. The nearest order is seven submarines. We do not know yet when exactly it is going to happen. I hope soon.''
Dergachev was speaking at a press conference called to highlight the completion of ten years of the highly successful Indo-Russian BrahMos Aerospace joint venture. He also said that Russia and other countries of the world would participate in the tender, which would stipulate carriage of the BrahMos cruise missile as part of the submarine's armament.
Dr Sivathanu Pillai, chief executive of the joint venture, stated that Indian armed forces have already placed a $2 billion order for the missiles. The BrahMos cruise missile is already available in different land-to-land, sea-to-land and sea-to-sea versions.
A submarine launched and an air-to-surface version are ready for testing but await suitable platforms for carrying out the tests. While the air force is carrying out suitable modifications on Su-30MKI fighters to carry the missile, the Indian Navy has not indicated when it would make a modified submarine available for testing the sub-surface version.
BrahMos Aerospace was established in 1998 to design, develop, produce and market a unique supersonic cruise missile.Operating at a speed of Mach 2.8, it is the world's only supersonic cruise missile. While the propulsion is based on the Russian Yakhont missile, the guidance system has been developed by BrahMos Aerospace.
Between late 2004 and early 2008, the missile has undergone several tests from variety of platforms including a land based test at India's Pokhran firing range, where the missile performed the S- maneuver at Mach 2.8 for the Indian Army.
The missile has also been tested as a sea-to-land version recently.
The joint venture involves India's Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Russia's NPO Mashinostroeyenia.