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BrahMos to roll out of Keltec unit in three years, hypersonic version under development news
31 December 2007

Thiruvananthapuram: The first BrahMos supersonic missile will roll out of the newly acquired state-owned Kerala High-Tech Industries Limited (Keltec) unit here in Thiruvananthapuram in three years time, BrahMos Aerospace managing director and CEO Dr A Sivathanu Pillai said on Sunday. The unit will be formally taken over by BrahMos Aerospace, and renamed, by defence minister AK Antony on Monday

On the eve of the takeover of Keltec by BrahMos Aerospace, CEO Dr A Sivathanu Pillai unveiled the unit's future plans. According to Pillai, a new missile integration complex will be ready at the plant in two and a half years. The assembly plant, costing Rs75 crore, will come up on the land next to the Keltec premises, which BrahMos Aerospace (Thiruvananthapuram) Ltd is acquiring.

''Twenty major Indian companies and seven Russian ones are contributing components for the missile. All the components have to be assembled here in a controlled-environment,'' he said.

The new management will take over operations on January 1.

According to Dr Pillai, BrahMos Aerospace is planning to increase current staff strength and also train existing staff in handling the required technology. ''The staff already have a strong experience in the aerospace sector,'' Dr Pillai said.

BrahMos Aerospace is making an initial investment of Rs25 crore in the unit. ISRO will also invest Rs25 crore in the unit. ''There is increasing workload from the ISRO as it is stepping up launches,'' Dr Pillai said.

A joint venture between India and Russia, BrahMos is a unique missile with a range of 290 km and flies at speeds of 2.8 Mach.

BrahMos Aerospace handed over the first land-based versions to the Indian Army earlier this year, while the ship borne version has already been operationalised by the Indian Navy. The airborne version, which will be of slightly different dimensions, is under development, Dr Pillai said.

India holds a 50.5 per cent stake in BrahMos Aerospace and Russia, 49.5 per cent. The missile's engine is supplied by Russia while the radar and other components are Indian.

Responding to a query, Dr Pillai said that Russia would co-operate on development of the BrahMos II, a hypersonic version of the missile, as this version would be within the parameters of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).

Keltec will formally become BrahMos Aerospace with chief minister VS Achuthanandan handing over the unit to defence minister AK Antony at the Keltec premises at 4.30 p.m. on Monday.

Along with Dr Pillai, ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair will be one of the speakers, talking about the future of space programmes, while industry minister, Elamaram Kareem will preside over the function.

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BrahMos to roll out of Keltec unit in three years, hypersonic version under development