Established in 1998, BrahMos Aerospace, a joint Indian-Russian venture, produces and markets BrahMos supersonic missiles, whose sea-based and land-based versions have been successfully tested and put into service with the Indian army and navy.
"The [BrahMos] missile will be put in service in 2012," the company's CEO, Sivathanu Pillai said, presenting the airborne version of the missile at the Aero India-2009 air show in India.
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.
"For the airborne version...we had to reduce the mass of the missile and to ensure aerodynamic stability after its separation from the aircraft. The air-launched platform has its own initial speed during the launch of the missile, so we have reduced the size of the booster. Now the missile is ready," Pillai told RIA Novosti in an exclusive interview last year.
The Indian Air Force had chosen Russian-made SU-30 MKI Flanker-H multirole fighter as a trial platform for the missile, but it will take up to four years to complete the upgrade of the aircraft so that it can carry and launch BrahMos missiles, the official added.
India is planning to produce at least 140 Su-30MKI fighters by 2014 under a Russian license with full technology transfer rights.
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 visit by Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov to India last year, the two sides agreed to develop a hypersonic version of the missile, to be known as BrahMos-2.