India Test-Fires ‘Ground Attack’ BrahMos Cruise Missile From Andaman Islands Amid China Tensions

India once again test-fired its venerable BrahMos supersonic cruise missile on Tuesday, confirming the earlier reports of tests to be conducted in the last week of November.

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The missile was fired from the Andaman-Nicobar island territory, ANI reported quoting some sources. The test took place at 10 am and meeting all the parameters, the missile successfully hit its target, located on another island.

The missile was the much-anticipated extended-range version with over 400 kilometers from the earlier from 298 km. “The test was conducted by the Indian Army which has many variants of the DRDO-developed missile system. The strike range of BrahMos missile has now been enhanced to over 400 km,” the sources said.

According to a Times of India report, the country will undertake multiple operational firings of BrahMos this week.

These tests are said to enhance the operational capability and ensure better assimilation of the systems into the Indian armed forces, especially when they are engaged in a stand-off against the Chinese PLA for about 7 months in eastern Ladakh. The BrahMos has already been deployed in the region to counter any PLA misadventure.

File:BrahMos.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

The Andaman and Nicobar Island territory offers the Indian military a major dominating position in the Indian Ocean, as from those Islands New Delhi can effectively block the strategically important Strait of Malacca, in case of any eventuality.

On October 30, the Indian Air Force also demonstrated its ability to carry out long-range maritime strike missions, when a Su-30MKI armed with BrahMos (air-launch variant) took off from an airbase in Punjab and hit a target ship at the Bay of Bengal.

During the sortie, the aircraft also carried out mid-air refueling from an Il-78 tanker and traveled about 3,500 kilometers in total. Earlier too, the service demonstrated such ability when a similar configuration Su-30MKI flew from an airbase in West Bengal and hit targets in the Arabian sea near Lakshadweep islands.

The BrahMos — a portmanteau formed from the names of India’s Brahmaputra River and the Moskva of Russia — is a supersonic cruise missile developed from the P-800 Oniks, in a joint venture between the Indian DRDO and the Russian NPO Mashinostroyeniya.

Originally developed as an anti-ship cruise missile, its land attack and air-launched variants have been made as well. As of 2020, the BrahMos is the world’s fastest anti-ship cruise missile in operation, reaching speeds of 1.2 kilometers per second.