19:32 GMT17 January 2021
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    Indian fighter jets soon will be equipped with one of the world's fastest cruise missile, the Indo-Russian BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, which can reach speeds as fast as Mach 2.5 to 2.8.

    India recently developed a modification for its Sukhoi Su-30 MKI fighter jet that will allow the aircraft to carry the BrahMos, according to Indian media reports.

    Then, earlier this year, it was reported that India's Strategic Forces Command (SFC) had begun receiving 42 Su-30MKI fighters modified to carry BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles. The missile will be tested from the modified Sukhoi Su-30 MKI fighter this year.

    "It will take about four to five months to complete the instrument flight test, the dummy test and the actual flight," said Sudhir K. Mishra, CEO and managing director of the Indo-Russian joint venture BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited (BAPL).

    The Sukhoi Su-30 MKI will serve as the backbone of India's Air Force through 2020 and beyond. Delhi has already has around 200 of the 282 Su-30s MKIs it plans to acquire.

    The BrahMos is a short range – up to 290 kilometers – ramjet supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft or land. Its top speed is 3.5 times faster than that of the US Harpoon cruise missile.

    The missile can also hit targets that as low as 10 meters off the ground.

    The BrahMos has a two-stage propulsion system: a solid-propellant rocket for initial acceleration and a liquid-fueled ramjet responsible for sustained supersonic cruise. The two-part system gives the missile a longer range than one fueled solely by rocket-power.

    The high speed is thought to give it better target-penetration characteristics.

    In May 2015, the Indian army successfully tested a version of the BrahMos with steep-diving capability, which allowed it to take out targets hidden behind mountain ranges. The Indian government has placed BrahMos missiles in the mountains on its northeast border with China and in its border with Pakistan.

    Furthermore, France has agreed "in principle" to equip the BrahMos with cutting-edge guidance technology.

    Potential enhancements and developments of the missile has the Indian Army considering raising two more BrahMos missile regiments to bring its total number to six regiments. India is also looking to export the missile to other countries. 

    cruise missiles, Strategic Forces Command, India
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