New Delhi (Sputnik): The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Wednesday successfully test fired the air-launched version of the supersonic cruise missile BrahMos, developed jointly by India and Russia for its frontline Su-30 MKI fighter jet.
It is the second test of a BrahMos missile after the IAF became the first air force in the world to have successfully fired a 2.8 Mach surface attack missile of this category on a sea target on 22 November 2017.
"The launch from the aircraft was smooth and the missile followed the desired trajectory before directly hitting the land target", the IAF, which had postponed the test due to a cyclone in April, said.
Sources said that the missile will undergo final developmental or certification trials in the third quarter of 2019. The missile will be inducted into the IAF in 2020 following two certified launches against a naval and a ground target.
The IAF emphasised that the air version of the BrahMos missile provides a much desired capability "to strike from large stand-off ranges on any target at sea or on land with pinpoint accuracy by day or night and in all weather conditions".
The missile weighs 2.55 tons in comparison to the ground-launched version weighing 3.2 tons. It is 50 cm shorter than the 8.4 m length of the ground-launched variant. The BrahMos-A variant is fitted with a new ignition system to facilitate launch at high altitudes.
The Indian government cleared a $1.5 billion proposal in 2012 to procure over 200 air-launched versions of the missile, which included money to be spent on integration and testing of the missile with the Su-30 MKI.