The BrahMos (PJ-10) is a short-range, ramjet powered, single warhead, supersonic anti-ship/land attack cruise missile developed and manufactured by India and Russia.
BrahMos at a Glance
Originated from: Russia and India
Possessed by: Russia, India, Vietnam
Alternate names: PJ-10
Class: Supersonic Cruise Missile
Length: 8.0-8.2 m
Diameter: 0.67 m
Launch weight: 2,200-3,000 kg
Payload: 200-300 kg
Warhead: HE, submunitions
Propulsion: Liquid-fueled ramjet
Range: 300-500 km, 290 km export version
Basing: Ground-launched, Air-launched, Sub-launched, Ship-launched
The BrahMos, which derives its name from the Brahmaputra and Moscow rivers in India and Russia, is based on the earlier Russian design for the SS-N-26 (3M55 Oniks/Yakhont/Bastion) cruise missile. In 1998, a joint venture was set up between the Indian Defense Ministry’s Defense Research and Development Organization and Russia’s Mashinostroyeniye Company. The two entities formed a company now known as Brahmos Aerospace, which would develop and manufacture the BrahMos PJ-10.1
The BrahMos PJ-10 is distinguished by its reported supersonic speed of between Mach 2.0-2.8, depending on the cruising altitude used. In addition to making it difficult to intercept, this speed also imparts a greater strike power.2 In addition, the BrahMos is equipped with stealth technology designed to make it less visible to radar and other detection methods. It has an inertial navigation system (INS) for use against ship targets, and an INS/Global Positioning System for use against land targets. Terminal guidance is achieved through an active/passive radar.3
The BrahMos has a range of between 300-500 km depending on which variant and launch platform is used. The missile is powered by a solid propellant boost motor with a liquid-fueled ramjet sustainer motor. The ship and ground-launched version is 8.2 m in length, has a body diameter of 0.67 m, carries a 300 kg payload, and has a launch weight of 3,000 kg; the air-launched version is 8.0 m in length, has a diameter of 0.67 m, carries a 200 kg payload, and has a launch weight of 2,200 to 2,500 kg. All versions have four clipped tip delta wings at mid-body, with four small delta control fins at the rear. The BrahMos carries either a 200 or 300 kg high explosive semi-armor-piercing warhead or a 250 kg submunitions warhead. It can be launched from a vertical launch system, a ramp launcher, or alternatively from the air.4 In 2013, the missile was successfully launched from a submerged barge as well, demonstrating the capability to deploy on future missile submarines.5
In 2016, India agreed to sell Vietnam the Brahmos missile after gaining acceptance into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).6 Variants sold internationally only have a range of 290 km to fall under the 300 km restrictions in the MTCR.
BrahMos Hypersonic Variant
In addition to the supersonic version of the Brahmos, India and Russia are also collaborating on a hypersonic version of the missile. Reports suggest that the Brahmos-II will be powered by a scramjet engine rather than the ramjet version. Russian defense officials have also claimed that the missile will reach the Mach 5 threshold required to be classified as hypersonic by using a special new fuel.7
- James C. O’Halloran, “Brahmos (PJ-10),” in IHS Jane’s Weapons: Strategic, (IHS; 2015). 142-146.
- Ibid, 142-146
- Ibid, 142-146
- Ibid, 142-146
- The Financial Express, “BrahMos missile’s land version successfully test-fired by Indian Air Force,” Yahoo Finance India, May 27, 2016, Accessed on https://in.finance.yahoo.com/news/brahmos-missile-land-version-successfully-080700393.html.
- Sam LaGrone, “India Set to Sell Super Sonic Anti-Ship Cruise Missile to Vietnam,” USNI News, June 1, 2016, Accessed on https://news.usni.org/2016/06/01/india-set-sell-super-sonic-anti-ship-cruise-missile-vietnam-china-upset.
- Zachary Keck, “Russia Developed New Fuel to Power Mach 5 Hypersonic Missiles,” The National Interest, February 17, 2015, Accessed on http://nationalinterest.org/blog/russia-developed-new-fuel-power-mach-5-hypersonic-missiles-12266.