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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Indian Navy Chief Touts BrahMos Missile as Defense Mainstay

Indian Navy Chief underscores BrahMos missile's pivotal role, emphasizing India's defense self-reliance, amid growing international interest and defense procurement, including discussions at the World Defense Show in Saudi Arabia.

Indian Navy Chief Admiral Radhakrishnan Hari Kumar said on Monday that the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, which was jointly developed by India and Russia, will become the “mainstay” of the Indian Navy as a surface-to-surface system, replacing older missiles from other countries.

Speaking to ANI news agency on the sidelines of a defense exhibition in Pune, the navy chief noted that BrahMos is manufactured in India, providing “a great advantage” to the country in terms of both combat capabilities and self-reliance in defense.

“BrahMos will be our primary weapon now as the surface-to-surface missile weapon. Probably the Air Force and the air fighters also will have that as the primary air-to-surface weapon. [BrahMos] has evolved in range, in capabilities, in its lethality, and so on. So, this is going to be the mainstay for some time and that is why we are replacing all old missiles with this,” Kumar stated. “It is a very potent missile, and it has been evolving,” he added.

The navy chief’s remarks come on the heels of the country’s Cabinet Committee on Security clearing the procurement of over 200 BrahMos missiles under a 190-billion-rupee ($2.3 billion) contract with BrahMos Aerospace, an Indo-Russian joint venture. The deal is expected to be signed early next month. 

New Delhi considers BrahMos one of the key systems for defense exports amid the Narendra Modi-led government’s efforts to make India a global exporter of weaponry.  At the World Defense Show in Saudi Arabia earlier this month, Praveen Pathak, BrahMos Aerospace’s director of exports, revealed that the company’s order portfolio reached $7 billion, encompassing both domestic and international orders. He also claimed that a “great deal of interest” was shown by Saudi Arabia in procuring the missiles.

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The head of India’s Defense Research and Development Organization also said the missiles are “getting a lot of interest” from potential buyers. Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia are believed to have expressed interest in acquiring the cruise missiles. In 2022, BrahMos signed a $375 million deal with the Philippines for the high-capability missiles, and deliveries are expected to start in March.