Indian Army inducted a new regiment of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, which is geared to be a precision strike weapon with a 300-km strike range.
Earlier, the government approved the deployment of the BrahMos tactical missiles in Arunachal Pradesh to counter China's huge build-up of military infrastructure all along the 4,057-km Line of Actual Control following a similar nod for the western sector facing Pakistan, a report in Indian media said Thursday.
While the Agni family of nuclear-capable missiles are meant to act as a deterrent, BrahMos and the under-development 150-km Prahaar missile are highly-mobile, all-weather battlefield support missile systems' for accurate and concentrated fire assaults at enemy targets in conventional warfare.
In 2007, the Army had first inducted a regiment of BrahMos-I, which consists of 67 missiles, five mobile autonomous launchers on 12x12 Tatra vehicles and two mobile command posts, among other equipment.
The regiment handed over to the 1.13-million-strong force on Wednesday consists of the Block-II version of the missiles developed to hit a specific small target with a low radar cross-section in a cluttered environment. The Block-III version, which will be the next to be inducted, has "steep dive capability" to take out targets hidden behind a mountain range.
Handing over the regiment to artillery director-general Lt-General Vinod Nayanar, in presence of BrahMos chief Dr A S Pillai, minister of state for defence M M Pallam Raju said, "BrahMos is a versatile system and now available in multiple versions. I am glad to know this regiment is being delivered ahead of schedule."
Lt-Gen Nayanar said, "We have guns for near range and the Smerch rockets for a range of 75-km. BrahMos is the only system which has added tremendous firepower capability to the armed forces for targets as deep as 300-km."
Dr Pillai said BrahMos, which flies at the speed of Mach 2.8 all through its 290-km range, had "devastating power" with "nine times more kinetic energy than sub-sonic cruise missiles".
Having already placed orders worth Rs 9,484 crore, the Army is looking to induct all three versions of the multi-role BrahMos in sufficient numbers over the next couple of years. Navy and IAF have ordered BrahMos missiles worth Rs 3,568 crore and Rs 1,295 crore, respectively.
BrahMos missiles give some much-needed teeth to the Army's pro-active conventional war strategy', loosely called the Cold Start' doctrine, which revolves around multiple armoured thrusts by self-contained battle groups' across the border against Pakistan.
Both BrahMos and Prahaar are meant to carry only 200-kg to 250-kg conventional warheads, but Pakistan has brandished its 60-km Nasr (Hatf-IX) and 500-km Babur land-attack cruise missiles as nuclear weapons to counter the Cold Start' strategy.