India tests new version of cruise missile

India successfully tested on Sunday a new, more maneuverable version of its BrahMos supersonic cruise missile that was jointly developed with Russia, an official said.

The missile was fired from a moving warship in the Bay of Bengal, off India’s eastern coast, and successfully hit its target, said a defense research official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The missile had a vertical lift off from the ship and was then maneuvered to hit the target ship, the Press Trust of India news agency said.

“It was a perfect hit and a perfect mission,” PTI quoted the head of the BrahMos project, A. Sivathanu Pillai, as saying.

Pillai said the test proved it was possible to change the direction of the missile at supersonic speeds before hitting the target.

The BrahMos missile, developed with Russia, can carry nuclear and conventional warheads weighing 620 to 660 pounds (280 to 300 kilograms) and has a maximum range of 180 miles (290 kilometers).

The missile can fly at 2.8 times the speed of sound and can be launched from land, ships, submarines and aircraft.

The standard version of the missile has already been tested more than a dozen times, but this was the first test of the new version.

New Delhi and Islamabad regularly test missiles, but normally only give each other advance notice for long-range launches. It was not immediately clear whether India informed Pakistan ahead of Sunday’s test.

India’s missile arsenal also includes the short-range Prithvi missile, the anti-tank Nag missile, the short-range surface-to-air Trishul missile, and the medium-range Agni missile.

Associated Press