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    India test-fires supersonic cruise missile

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    The Indian Navy successfully launched a BrahMos supersonic cruise missile on Thursday from a mobile platform in the Bay of Bengal.

    NEW DELHI, December 18 (RIA Novosti) - The Indian Navy successfully launched a BrahMos supersonic cruise missile on Thursday from a mobile platform in the Bay of Bengal.

    It was test-fired from a vertical launcher. All previous missile launches were carried out from inclined launchers.

    "The BrahMos missile was successfully test-fired in vertical-launch configuration from an Indian Navy ship in the Bay of Bengal," the Defense Ministry said.

    The missile was developed by a joint venture between India's Defense Research and Development Organization and Russia's NPO Mashinostroyenia.

    The BrahMos missile has a range of 290 km (180 miles) and can carry a conventional warhead of up to 300 kg (660 pounds). It can effectively engage ground targets from an altitude as low as 10 meters (30 feet) and has a top speed of Mach 2.8, which is about three times faster than the U.S.-made subsonic Tomahawk cruise missile.

    Analysts estimate that India could purchase up to 1,000 BrahMos missiles for its armed forces in the next decade, and export 2,000 to other countries during the same period.

    During a recent visit by Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov to India, the two sides agreed to develop a hypersonic version of the missile to be known as BrahMos-2.

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