New Delhi (Sputnik): Within a month of the successful test firing of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile with a seeker locally made in India, BrahMos Aerospace — a joint venture between India and Russia — has announced that the seeker will replace the Russian-developed seeker on all future BrahMos missiles.
"Our objective is to make use of the Indian seeker on all future BrahMos missiles," Sudhir K. Mishra, the chief executive officer of BrahMos Aerospace, said on the sidelines of DefExpo 2018 in India's southern city of Chennai.
The seeker was developed by Research Centre Imarat (RCI), Hyderabad, in collaboration with other labs under the state-run Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO). The hardware, algorithm, logic and realization of the device have been totally produced domestically.
Presently, India supplies the BrahMos' inertial navigation system and fire control system, whilst Russia provides the ramjet propulsion system, radar and seeker.
"The Russians say if the Indians supply a cheaper, cost-effective and reliable seeker, then let us take it from India," said Mishra, as quoted by Bloomberg.
BrahMos will also test the missile using a solid propellant booster developed by Indian scientists, which is likely to take BrahMos closer to Mach 3 speeds in the cruise phase. The two-stage missile system uses a solid propellant booster to achieve supersonic speeds in the first stage while at the second stage the liquid ramjet takes the missile closer to Mach 3 speeds in the cruise phase.
The missile's air frames are also being manufactured in India. Last December, Indian scientists, with help from Russia, announced that they had locally developed a specialty aluminum alloy that would do away with the need for importing the alloy that is used in the construction of the air frame and fuel tank.
All this is expected to cut the cost of the world's deadliest missile, which has generated huge interest among the countries of East Asia and Latin America, especially following a successful trial of the Su-30MKI last November.
"Decision making can sometimes be frustratingly long drawn but the interest is sustained. Sometimes it is the question of the cost being negotiated, but interest on Indian missiles is definitely growing and we are addressing it. We want to able to export it to friendly nations," Nirmala Sitharaman, India's minister of defense, said last week.
Apart from Vietnam, several other Southeast Asian countries, including Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, have evinced interest in purchasing the missile, according to reports.