The world’s heaviest supersonic air-to-ground missile will be made in Kerala. The integration of the air version of supersonic missiles is all set to begin at BrahMos Aerospace Thiruvananthapuram Limited (BATL).
The integration complex, where missile parts from various defence research and development centres will be pieced together, will produce 12 missiles a year. The 2.5-tonne air version will be fitted on Sukhoi fighters.
The Su-30s are being redesigned to enable them to carry the heavy missiles. The missile will be fitted on the belly of the aircraft. The launcher has also been designed and made at BATL.
Structural changes will have to be made on the aircraft to equip it to carry such heavy missile. Russian and Indian experts are preparing separate structural plans, sources said. The two plans, sources said, will be studied by a joint team of Indo-Russian defence scientists and a single plan of action adopted.
The Su-30s will be redesigned at the Nasik unit of the Hindustan Aeronautical Limited. Missiles integrated in Thiruvananthapuram will be taken to Nasik and they will be fired from the Su-30s at the Chandipur range in Odisha. “It will be fired to test its air-to-ground and air-to-sea precision,” said Dr A Sivathanu Pillai, CEO & MD of BrahMos Aerospace.
The IAF has placed an order for more than 40 missiles. The plan, sources said, is to raise two Su-30 squadrons as specialized BrahMos strike teams. This is seen as a key strategic combination as it blends the speed and agility of Sukhois with the supersonic character of BrahMos.
Preliminary work on the missiles has already begun at BATL. Defence minister A K Antony will dedicate the facility on November 14.