The development of the BrahMos-A air-launched cruise missile opens possibilities for its promotion on both global and domestic Indian markets. Moreover, the integration of the ALCM into the Su-34 (Fullback) frontline bombers and Su-35S (Flanker-E+) multi-role fighter jets of the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) is not ruled out, says Boris Obnosov, director general of KTRV, Russia’s Tactical Missiles Corporation.

“We have a similar item, namely the Kh-35Eh (AS-20 Kayak) anti-ship missile; however, it is of a different class,” Obnosov said. “Now, a supersonic heavy missile is adapted for sea, land and air applications. The BrahMos-A features high export potential and a good backlog of domestic orders. 

“I do not rule out that the Russian Armed Forces will pay a special attention to this ALCM, as it can be integrated into the Su-34 and Su-35S,” Obnosov emphasized.

According to the head of KTRV, the use of a single type of missile that can be integrated into land-, sea- and air-based platforms dramatically reduces costs related to the after-sales maintenance and use.

The Su-30MKI (Flanker-H) multi-role fighter jets supplied to the Indian Air Force (IAF) originally were not modified for the use of long-range missiles with a range of up to 300 km (186 mi) against surface and ground targets. However, Russia’s Sukhoi company has conducted works to design technical documentation for the modifying of the Su-30MKI’s fuselage to carry a BrahMos-A missile mounted on an underfuselage hardpoint. The ability to use a long-range ALCM dramatically increases the effectiveness of the Su-30MKI fighter jet against surface and stationary ground targets. The integrated radar of the aircraft provides autonomous target designation to the BrahMos-A.

The IAF Su-30MKI can effectively fire the BrahMos-A missile when carrying organic air-launched weapons, an Indian military official said. “Owing to high useful payload, a Su-30MKI can carry organic weapons along with a BrahMos-A missile mounted on the underfuselage hardpoint in accordance with the payload variants offered by Sukhoi that provide the required centering adjustment,” the official added.

According to him, a Su-30MKI fitted with a BrahMos-A on the under-fuselage hardpoint can carry both air-to-surface (Kh-31A anti-ship missiles, Kh-31P anti-radiation missile, etc.) and air-to-air missiles (RVV-AE, R-73, etc.). If the flight task for a Su-30MKI armed with the BrahMos-A has been changed and the launch of the missile has been canceled, the aircraft can land with a single BrahMos-A under its fuselage within the limits of allowed landing weight.

India has already upgraded two Su-30MKI aircraft built by Irkut for the flight tests of the Su-30MKI/BrahMos-A air-based attack complex. It is noteworthy that the fuel amount in the main fuel tanks of the modernized fighter jet remained the same. The military official added that the Indian side will set up the required operating and practical ranges of the aircraft armed with the BrahMos missile during its trials.

The aircraft’s upgrade documentation has been handed over to India, and the fuselage of the IAF Su-30MKI is being modified at the facility of the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited corporation in Nashik.

According to the Sukhoi company, the ability to use the BrahMos-A missile substantially increases the export potential of the fighter jet. However, this air-based attack complex can be offered to third countries that show interest in it only upon consultations between India and Russia.

The BrahMos-A has been developed by the Russian-Indian BrahMos Aerospace joint venture established by Russia’s Military-Industrial Corporation NPO Mashinostroyenia, a subsidiary of KTRV, and India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation.