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India only country with supersonic cruise missile: Dr. Pillai

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The BRAHMOS supersonic cruise missile during a test-firing. A file photo

AHMEDABAD (PTI): India is the only country to have a supersonic cruise missile, the BRAHMOS, while others are struggling to build one, top scientist Dr. A Sivathanu Pillai, who is associated with the development of the country's missile programme, has said.

Out of the box thinking had helped India develop the missile in collaboration with Russia, Dr. Pillai, Chief Controller (R&D), DRDO and CEO and MD of BrahMos Aerospace, said on Thursday as he delivered the 35th Dr Vikaram Sarabhai Memorial Lecture in Ahmedabad.

"During the war of US with Iraq's Saddam Hussein, western countries used the Tomahawk cruise missile.

"On the first night of the war, the US launched more than 1,000 cruise missiles, destroying the air defence system of Iraq. Then the war was won after fighter planes were able to bomb that country at will," he said.

Tomahawk missiles are subsonic and cannot travel faster than sound.

"We thought of doing something out of the box with the cruise missile and decided to have supersonic cruise missiles which can travel faster than the speed of sound. Russia was also working on it and we formed a joint venture. After years of hard work, we developed, tested and successfully produced the BRAHMOS supersonic cruise missile," the defence scientist said.

"These have been inducted into our army and it is the only army in the world with such missiles. Other countries are still struggling to make a supersonic cruise missile," the scientist, who was involved with the development of the project, said.

Cruise missiles which travel at a low altitude and at supersonic speeds, are very dangerous for the enemy, he said.

The range of the BRAHMOS missile is up to 300km and it is available in sea and land versions while another type is being developed for launch from fighter planes, Dr. Pillai added.

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