India to develop hypersonic cruise missile with Mach 6
India will develop the hypersonic cruise missile with the maximum speed of 6000 km per hour to boost aerial fast strike capability, local media reported on Monday.
The hypersonic cruise missile will be developed on the basis of the present supersonic cruise missile BrahMos, and Russia will offer the technical support, the Indian newspaper the Times of India reported, citing an official's saying of the Indian Defense Ministry.
An agreement with Russia will be signed during the visit of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to India in December, said the official.
The existing supersonic variants of BrahMos could travel at a speed of Mach 3, half that of the hypersonic versions, and the hypersonic cruise missile would have more powerful target penetration capability than those supersonic versions, the official said.
At present, only a few countries in the world are developing hypersonic cruise missiles, such as the U.S. and Russia. On May 26, the U.S. Air Force test-launched a hypersonic cruise missile carried under a wing of a B-52 bomber in the Pacific Ocean. The missile reached a top speed of Mach 6, but the flight only lasted about 200 seconds due to a vehicle anomaly.
The Indian hypersonic BrahMos cruise missile will have the same range of about 300 km as the supersonic versions. It is expected to be ready by 2016, and will arm the advanced stealth destroyers of the Indian Navy, according to the official.
As the hypersonic BrahMos version with a speed of Mach 6 is deployed, India will become one of the few countries in the world to possess such missiles of this speed, said the official.
BrahMos cruise missile is a supersonic cruise missile jointly-developed by India and Russia, and could be launched from the planes, surface ships, submarines and land vehicles. India and Russia intend to make 2000 BrahMos supersonic missiles over the next ten years, and nearly half of which are expected to be exported to some countries.