BrahMos Vertical
Possessed By:India, Russia
Alternate Name:PJ-10
Length:8.2 (SSM)/8.0 m (ASM)
Diameter:0.67 m
Launch Weight:3,000 kg (SSM), 2,200-2,500 kg (ASM)
Payload:300 kg (SSM), 200 kg (ASM)
Warhead:HE SAP or submunitions
Range:300 km (SSM), 500 km (ASM)
In Service:2005

The BrahMos (PJ-10) is a short-range, ramjet powered, single warhead, supersonic anti-ship/land attack cruise missile developed and manufactured by India and Russia. Ship and ground-launched versions have been produced, and air and submarine-launched versions are under development. Due to its speed and accuracy, the BrahMos is considered one of the most formidable cruise missiles.

BrahMos line diagram.
Jane’s Strategic Weapon Systems

The BrahMos, which derives its name from the Brahmaputra and Moscow rivers in India and Russia, is based on the earlier Russian design for the SS-N-26 (3M55 Oniks/Yakhont/Bastion) cruise missile. In 1998, a joint venture was set up between the Indian Defense Ministry’s Defense Research and Development Organization and Russia’s Mashinostroyeniye Company. The two entities formed a company now known as Brahmos Aerospace, which would develop and manufacture the BrahMos PJ-10. 1

BrahMos test launch from Indian destroyer.

As an anti-ship missile, the BrahMos PJ-10 is distinguished by its reported supersonic speed of Mach 2.8, approximately one kilometer per second. In addition to making it difficult to intercept, this speed also imparts a greater strike power. In comparison, the U.S. RGM/UGM-109 “Tomahawk” cruise missile, which has been used successfully in both Iraq and Afghanistan, operates at a subsonic speed of less than Mach 1.0. Most other anti-ship missiles fly at subsonic speeds as well.

In addition, the BrahMos is equipped with stealth technology designed to make it less visible to radar and other detection methods. The missile also has a high level of accuracy, which has been reported as close as 1 to 5 m CEP. The missile operates on the “fire and forget” principle, meaning that once it has been launched, it will strike its target without requiring any assistance. It has an inertial navigation system (INS) for use against ship targets, and an INS/Global Positioning System for use against land targets. Terminal guidance is achieved through an active/passive radar. 2

The BrahMos is designed to attack surface targets at altitudes as low as 10 m. The ship and ground-launched versions have a range of 300 km, while the air-launched version has a range of 500 km. The missile is powered by a solid propellant boost motor with a liquid-fuelled ramjet sustainer motor. The ship and ground-launched version is 8.2 m in length, has a body diameter of 0.67 m, carries a 300 kg payload, and has a launch weight of 3,000 kg; the air-launched version is 8.0 m in length, has a diameter of 0.67 m, carries a 200 kg payload, and has a launch weight of 2,200 to 2,500 kg. Both versions have four clipped tip delta wings at mid-body, with four small delta control fins at the rear. The BrahMos carries either a 200 or 300 kg high explosive semi-armor-piercing warhead or a 250 kg submunitions warhead. 3

The first flight test of the BrahMos PJ-10 took place in June 2001. By April 2007, the missile had been tested at least fourteen times. The first eight tests were against ship targets and ended with the introduction of the missile into the Indian Navy in 2005. Several of the subsequent flights tested the missile against land-based targets and employed land-based launch platforms leading to the missile’s introduction in the Indian Army in 2007.  4

BrahMos TEL vehicle raised for launch.
Jane’s Strategic Weapon Systems

The missile entered production in 2004. Initial production was probably fairly slow with about 10 to 15 missiles produced per year. It is believed that by 2008 production numbers had increased to around 50 missiles per year. About 360 missiles are expected to be produced for domestic use. 5 Some missiles will also probably be used by Russia. The BrahMos cooperation intends to export the missile rather widely. According to their webpage, they are creating an order book worth $13 billion in BrahMos sales. 6

BrahMos Ground-launched Variant

The land-based version utilizes the Tatra T816 12 x 12 chassis with a three canister system raised to launch at 45 degrees. 7 The Indian Army adopted the land-based BrahMos in 2007. 8

BrahMos Air-launched Variant

Flight tests aboard the Su-30 MKI aircraft were scheduled for 2012 with an operational date of 2014/15, but the initial tests have been pushed back until December 2013. The delay is the result of a significantly different BrahMos design including reducing the launch weight by a half a ton, one booster to accelerate the missile instead of two, and modifications to the Su-30 aircraft. 9

BrahMos Submarine-launched Variant 

The submarine-launched variant was expected to begin trials in 2009, but it was reported that there were no submarines available for testing. 10 The first test was expected to occur in the fourth quarter of 2012, but it is unclear if this occurred. 11 The BrahMos submarine variant is launched vertically from a canister at a maximum depth of 40 to 50 m. 12

  1. Lennox, Duncan. “Brahmos (PJ-10).” Jane’s Strategic Weapon Systems (Offensive Weapons). April 25, 2012. (accessed September 12, 2012).)
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid.
  6. BrahMos Aerospace. “BrahMos Aims to Create $13 Billion Order Book.” September 1, 2010. (accessed January 2, 2013).
  7. Lennox, Brahmos (PJ-10)
  8. BrahMos Aerospace. “Land-based Weapon Complex System.” (accessed January 2, 2013.
  9. Menon, Jay. “Air Variant of BrahMos Test Delayed Until End Of 2013.” Aviation Week. December 28, 2012. (accessed January 2, 2013.
  10. Lennox, “Brahmos (PJ-10).”
  11. Defense Now. “Brahmos to Launch Submarine Version of the Missile, Hike Up Speed to Mach 7 for Hypersonic Version.” August 13, 2012. (accessed January 2, 2013.
  12. BrahMos Aerospace. “Submarine Launch Version.” (accessed January 2, 2013.
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