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India eyes overseas arms market

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India is looking to export military hardware, including Russian-Indian cruise missiles, taking advantage of lower production costs at home, a Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) official said Thursday.
NEW DELHI, August 30 (RIA Novosti) - India is looking to export military hardware, including Russian-Indian cruise missiles, taking advantage of lower production costs at home, a Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) official said Thursday.

Dr. W. Selvamurthy, DRDO Chief Controller (R&D), told the Press Trust of India that his organization sees export potential for certain types of rifles, rockets and radars, while it also secured orders for delivery of the BrahMos cruise missile, developed by an Indo-Russian joint venture.

"The cost of R&D and production is less in the country. Our prices are very competitive in the international market. We may be able to export certain systems," Selvamurthy said.

He said that while DRDO's mandate continues to be to meet the requirements of India's defense forces, the research firm has found that the technologies, products and systems developed in the process have an overseas market, adding that it would target friendly neighboring countries as well as Third World nations for exports.

"But we will be selective in giving it (arms developed by DRDO) to other countries. We cannot give it to those who are not friendly to India," the DRDO official said.

India's Army adopted the BrahMos missile for service in late June.

The missile was developed as a joint venture set up by DRDO and Russia's Mashinostroyenia science and production association.

BrahMos is designed to engage targets flying at an altitude as low as 10 meters (30 feet) and at a speed of Mach 2.8, which is about three times faster than the U.S.-made subsonic Tomahawk cruise missile.

The missile was first tested in 2004. Its sea-based version was adopted in June 2006 and deployed on Project 11356 Talvar-class (Kryvack) frigates built in Russia for the Indian Navy.

The company is currently working on an airborne version, which could be installed on the Sukhoi-30MKI air superiority fighters of the Indian Air Force.

Experts estimate that India might purchase up to 1,000 BrahMos missiles for its Armed Forces in the next decade and export 2,000 to third countries during the same period.

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