September 6, 2007:
India has completed development
of a submarine launched version of its BrahMos cruise missile. There's one
catch, none of India's submarines (German 209 class and Russian Kilos) are
capable of launching the missile. The 29 foot long, 670mm diameter missile is
an upgraded version of the Russian SS-NX-26 (Yakhont), which was in development
when the Cold War ended in 1991. Lacking money to finish development and begin
production, the Russian manufacturer made a deal with India to finish the job.
India put up most of the $240 million needed to finally complete two decades of
development. The missile is being built in Russia, with India as the initial
customer. Several other nations have
The high price of each missile, about $2.3 million,
restricts the number of countries that can afford it. The weapon entered
service with the Indian navy in 2005. Different versions of the BrahMos can be
fired from the air, from ships or submarines. The maximum speed of 3,000
kilometers an hour makes it harder to intercept, and means it takes five
minutes or less to reach its target. The air launched version weighs 2.5 tons,
the others, three tons or more.
The missile is too large for the standard 533mm
torpedo tubes, and the plan is to modify some of the Kilo class ships, to
handle BrahMos. This would involve building a container for two or more BrahMos
missiles, outside the pressure hull. A similar system has been employed in
American and Russian subs.