While the first export of Light Combat Aircraft Tejas is inching closer to finalization, Argentina, meanwhile, is also showing interest in the supersonic cruise missile BrahMos.
Argentinian Defense Minister Jorge Taiana and Secretary of International Affairs for Defense Francisco Cafiero are on an Indian visit. Besides meeting Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, the Argentinian team is visiting the Indian defense companies to explore the purchase of LCA Tejas and BrahMos.
The team will visit Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, the Indian Aerospace major, on July 20, where sources indicate something “tangible” will be in the offing.
A team from HAL was in Argentina in June to negotiate with the Argentinian Air Force to make a pitch for its Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), along with its indigenously developed LCA Tejas fighter jets. If finalized, the sale of LCA to Argentina will be a breakthrough deal.
A formal proposal for selling 16 Tejas can be expected from the HAL now.
But what has been new is Argentina’s interest in BrahMos. “I began a visit to India to hold a bilateral meeting with my peer Rajnath Singh and visit different defense industries of this country. Today I was at the missile company BrahMos, which develops missiles for ships, aircraft, and land vehicles,” tweeted Argentinian Defense Minister Taiana.
The Indian Air Force Tejas performs at the opening ceremony of the Singapore Air Show on February 15, 2022.
The sentiments were echoed by Cafiero: “In a productive working meeting at BrahMos Aerospace, together with the minister Jorge Taiana, we continue to strengthen bilateral cooperation between India and our country. Since 1998, BrahMos has been developing missiles and rocketry, even having a supersonic missile. We are committed to promoting strategic collaborations that benefit both nations.”
Indian ‘Brahmastra’ Invokes Intrigue In Latin America & South East Asia
Since the Philippines chose BrahMos to defend itself against China, many South East Asia and Latin American countries have shown interest in the missile developed under the Indo-Russian joint venture with an original range of 290 kilometers.
After signing a deal with the Philippines and concluding talks with Indonesia, India has started talks with Vietnam to sell off the supersonic cruise missile.
The talks with the archipelagic country Indonesia have concluded. The ball is in their court now as India awaits their decision on the matter.
India aims to triple its arms exports by 2025. To aggressively market its indigenous weapons system, India has also begun posting Indian Armed Forces officers as defense attaches, where it is looking to pitch its military hardware aggressively. It has been quite a departure from Indian policy that eschewed the export of lethal weaponry.
BrahMos is a very potent missile and a stellar product from the Indian defense industry. A few months ago, the Indian Air Force successfully tested an extended-range BrahMos cruise missile with a range of 450 kilometers fitted on a Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter jet.
The BrahMos can fly at three times the speed of sound at 2.8 Mach and be fired from land, air, and sea. BrahMos derives its name from the rivers Brahmaputra and Moskva in India and Russia, respectively.
BrahMos weighs twice as much as the legendary US Tomahawk cruise missiles and travels at a speed four times more than it. This combination results in greater kinetic energy when the missile strikes the target.
The BrahMos maintains its supersonic speeds while skimming at low altitudes to avoid radar detection, and as it approaches the target, it conducts an evasive maneuver.
India has been pushing its weapon systems to the South East Asian countries to help them against the expansionist designs of China. India is working through the Line of Credit (LoC) method to help the South East Asian countries to bolster their defenses.
- Ritu Sharma has been a journalist for over a decade, writing on defense, foreign affairs, and nuclear technology.
- She can be reached at ritu.sharma (at) mail.com