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India successfully test-fires BRAHMOS supersonic cruise missile

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BALASORE, ODISHA (PTI): India on Monday successfully test-fired the Indo-Russian joint venture BRAHMOS supersonic cruise missile from a test range along the Odisha coast to validate some new features.

The missile was test-fired from a mobile launcher stationed at Launch pad 3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur near here at 10.40 am, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) officials said.

The trial was conducted to validate its "life extension" technologies developed for the first time in India by DRDO and team BrahMos, said an official of the ITR.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman congratualated DRDO scientists and team BrahMos for the successful launch of BRAHMOS missile with new technology today.

"Smt @nsitharaman congratulates Team BrahMos & @DRDO_India for successful flight test carried out at 1040 hrs on 21 May 2018 from ITR, Balasore to validate BRAHMOS missile life extension technologies developed for the first time in India," her office said in a twitter post.

The successful test will result in huge savings of replacement cost of missiles held in the inventory of the Indian Armed Forces, it said.

The two-stage missile - first being solid and the second one, a ramjet liquid propellant - has already been introduced in the Army and Navy, while the Air Force version had witnessed successful trial, the DRDO scientists said.

BRAHMOS variants can be launched from land, air, sea and under water. India successfully launched the world's fastest supersonic cruise missile from a Sukhoi-30 MKI combat jet for the first time against a target in the Bay of Bengal in November, 2017, they said.

The missiles land and naval variants are already in service. At least two Su-30 squadrons with 20 planes each are planned to be equipped with the air-launch variant of BRAHMOS missile, 500 kg lighter than land/naval variants.

India has already extended the range of the three-tonne missile from its earlier 290 km to 400 km and successfully test-fired the variant in March 2017.

Increasing the missile's range from 400 km to further 800 km is now possible after India's induction into the Missile Technology Control Regime in June 2016, they said.

Prior to that, India was bound by restrictions that limited the range of the missile, which is an Indo-Russian joint venture product, to less than 300 km.

Currently the Army is equipped with three regiments of Block 111 version of BRAHMOS missile. Induction of the first version of BRAHMOS missile system in Indian Navy began with INS Rajput in 2005. It is now fully operational with two regiments of the Army, said the scientists.

After two successful test trials of BRAHMOS missile from INS Kolkata in June 2014 and February 2015, the test firing from INS Kochi on September 30, 2015, had validated the newly commissioned ship's systems.

The air launch version and the submarine launch version of the missile system are in progress.

So far, the Army has placed orders for the BRAHMOS missile which are to be deployed by three regiments. Two of them are already operational.

The last land-based trial was conducted from the same base on March 11, 2017 successfully.

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