The re-design and development of the air-launched version of the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile has been completed and the missile is ready for testing, defence minister AK Antony informed house member Raghuveer Singh Koshal through a written reply.
The missile has already been successfully developed for the Indian Navy and the Indian Army. Development of the air version had earlier been sanctioned, and work on integrating the missile with the Su-30MKI aircraft of the Indian Air Force has been progressing, the minister said.
According to the defence minister, suitable universal launchers for different types of aircraft have also been designed and tests on these air-launched versions would be carried out in 2009.
Earlier reports had indicated that the Indo-Russian joint venture BrahMos Aerospace Limited might eventually manufacture about 1,000 supersonic cruise missiles over a period of ten years.
Chile, Indonesia, Kuwait, Malaysia, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates are potential clients of this unique product.
The two-stage solid propulsion missile is about eight meters in length, with a takeoff weight of about three tons. It has a range of 290 kilometres and flies at three times the speed of sound to deliver a 200-300-kilogramme warhead on the target.
The name BrahMos fuses the names of the Indian Brahmaputra and Russian Moskva rivers.