The Indian government has allowed the Army to deploy ‘BrahMos’ supersonic cruise missiles along the Sino-Indian border in order to protect the South Asian country from Chinese aggression.

Indian defence sources said that the government recently cleared the fourth BrahMos regiment at a cost of more than INR 43,000 million. The regiment consists of around 100 missiles, five mobile autonomous launchers on 12×12 heavy-duty trucks and a mobile command post, among other hardware and software.

Currently, BrahMos supersonic missiles, with steep dive capability and 290km range, are under test by the Indian Army. As the Indian steep-dive attack cruise missile can hit enemy targets hidden in the shadows of mountains, defence experts are of the opinion that New Delhi has sent a strong message to Beijing by allowing the Army to deploy such missiles along the India-China border.

India and Russia jointly developed BrahMos missiles after the project was sanctioned in October 1999. The missile was named after India’s Brahmaputra and Russia’s Moskva rivers. The Indian Army has already inducted three regiments of BrahMos in its arsenal and all of them are equipped with Block-III version of the missile.

There are two versions of the missile – land-attack and fire-and-forget. The fire-and-forget version of BrahMos has the capability to take on surface-based targets by flying a combined hi-lo trajectory, thus, evading enemy air defence systems. This version of BrahMos, which can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft or land, does not need further guidance after launch. The missile can fly at 2.8 times the speed of sound and carry conventional warheads up to 300kg.

Earlier, India and Russia had decided to sell BrahMos to “friendly third-world countries” identified by mutual consent. Now, India is looking to export the missile to Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines and some countries in Gulf and Latin America. The Indian Armed Forces recently placed orders, worth more then INR 310,000 million, with Russia. While the Indian Army has inducted three BrahMos regiments, the Navy has inducted the missile on 10 warships. In June, the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets have conducted ‘BrahMos carriage trials’. The IAF also plans to conduct ‘Separation trials’ later this month.