Monday, April 04, 2016
By: Darshil Patel
India has one of the world's most lethal weapon system in its arsenal. A missile that travels at supersonic speeds and is hard to detect and impossible to intercept. It is as we all know the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile jointly developed by India and Russia.
Hundreds of BrahMos missiles have already been inducted into the Indian Army and almost all Indian front-line warships now boast of this supersonic cruise missile. But what we don't know is that the BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited has developed a different variant than the ones inducted with the Army and the Navy.
This variant of BrahMos is designed to take on floating airfields like aircraft carriers. It was first tested in March-2012 and the missile gained the capability to attack Aircraft Carriers using the supersonic vertical dive with extremely high precision and can travel upto a distance of 290 kms. The missile will fly at speeds of Mach 3.
Its penetration capabilities had been impressively demonstrated in the past at sea when a single BrahMos cruise missile was able to effectively pierce the hull of a free-floating ship, destroying it entirely. The deep penetration Block-III variant expands this capability greatly, allowing the BrahMos to destroy reinforced targets like Aircraft Carriers.
Upon impact with a warship or an aircraft carrier, the BrahMos Block-III with its sheer velocity / kinetic energy clubbed with an extremely high explosive warhead will literally tear apart something as large as China's 'CNS Liaoning' aircraft carrier in one strike.
The DF-21D Carrier Killer Missile ::
China has developed the world's first carrier-killer missile. The latest DF-21D is said to be the world's first anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM). The DF-21 has also been developed into a space-capable anti-satellite weapon/anti-missile weapon carrier.
Though the launcher itself is mobile to reduce vulnerability, an actual launch unit requires support vehicles that can cover a 300×300-meter area, making it hard to move quickly and easier to detect. Also, the launcher is not made to travel off-road and requires solid ground when firing to prevent backblast and debris damage due to the hard launch, restricting its firing locations to roads and pre-made launch pads.
Countermeasures against the DF-21D ::
American countermeasures against the DF-21D is to use electronic countermeasures that jam the active radar homing capabilities of the warhead causing the warhead to not hit the carrier or ship. Spoofing can also be used to trick the warhead into hitting somewhere else besides the ship or carrier.
BrahMos Hypersonic Version Under Development ::
BrahMos Mark-II (not Block-II) is a hypersonic cruise missile currently under development. The BrahMos-II is expected to fly at speeds of Mach 7. The planned operational range of the BrahMos-II has been restricted to 290 kilometers as India is not a signatory of the MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime) which prohibits us from acquiring missiles from other countries that have ranges above 300 kilometers.
The Hypersonic version of the BrahMos is expected to be ready by 2017.