Brahmos Missile Testfiring: In a setback to India’s missile programme, the test of an upgraded version of Brahmos cruise missile failed on Monday as the missile lost its trajectory soon after the firing and fell off after it was fired off the Odisha coast, according to a report.
“The BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, jointly developed by India and Russian, failed to take off during a test-firing, which was conducted off the Odisha coast on Monday. The missile fell soon after it took off,” Indian news agency ANI reported.
The upgraded version of the missile has the capability to strike targets at a distance of 450 kilometers. According to the sources, the missile fell off ‘very shortly after the launch’.
Sources also said that prima facie the missile failed to take off due to glitches with the propulsion system. The exact reasons for the failure would, however, be ascertained only after examination by scientists from the Defence Research and Development Organisation and BrahMos Aerospace.
BrahMos is a supersonic cruise missile and Brahmos Aerospace Private Limited (BAPL), and Indo-Russian joint venture company, has developed versions that can be launched from ship, submarine, land and Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft of Indian Air Force.
Dubbed as the world’s fastest supersonic cruise missile, India has offered it to friendly countries in the region with the first sale slated to take place to the Philippines.
The missile has a range of 290 kilometers to avoid the restrictions imposed by the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) which restricts the sale and transfer of missiles with range in excess of 300 kilometers.
However, India has been trying to develop longer-range version of Brahmos missile on its own.
Brahmos Missile Test: A rare failure
Though the failure of test firing of Brahmos missile is still a rare occasion as happened on Monday but like other missile programmes, Brahmos has its own share of troubles.
In January 2009, a testfiring of Brahmos missile in Pokhran range in western state of Rajasthan had failed as it missed to hit its target due to some problem in satellite link and navigation.
Sivathanu Pillai, then head of Brahmos Aerospace, had attributed the failure to a problem in the missile’s software and not due to its hardware.
Similarly, in July 2012, a test of Brahmos missile with 25 made-in-India sub-systems, that replaced Russian made systems, failed to achieve the objective.
According to a reply given by the then defence minister AK Antony in the Rajya Sabha, 24 out of 25 made-in-India systems worked well but due to failure of just one system the speed of missile increased.
Antony informed the house that DRDO scientists had rectified the problem and a fresh test would be conducted.
In June 2019, a test of Army version of Brahmos missile conducted off Odisha coast failed to give desired results. The failure came on the back of several successful tests of land, naval and air versions of the missile.