New Delhi: India and Russia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) last month to develop and induct a new hypersonic version of their joint venture 290-kilometre-range BrahMos cruise missile by 2015. The MoU set down the final parameters for the new version of the cruise missile, Indian defence ministry sources said.
The new missile, with a speed of over Mach 6 (around 6,000 kilometres per hour) and a striking-range of 290 kilometres, will be known as BrahMos-II.
According to BrahMos Aerospace, the hypersonic version will have a scramjet engine in place of a ramjet, which will allow speeds in excess of Mach 4. Scramjets allow combustion to occur in supersonic airflow.
The hypersonic version will be capable of immense destructive power on account of kinetic energy resulting from its immense speed. According to BrahMos Aerospace, an object striking a target at Mach 6 will have 36 times the force of an object of the same mass striking the target at Mach 1.
This phenomenon makes a hypersonic missile well suited to attacking hardened or deeply buried targets such as bunkers or nuclear or biological weapons storage facilities.
The range of the missile will not be extended as the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), to which Russia is a signatory, does not allow it to help other countries to develop missiles with ranges above 300 kilometres, they said.