The first flight of an Su-30 MKI aircraft with a BrahMos missile was successfully achieved at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Airport, Nashik in late June.
Sudhir Kumar Mishra, CEO & Managing Director, BrahMos Aerospace Pvt Ltd (BAPL), explained it is the first time in the world that such a heavyweight (2500 kg) supersonic cruise missile has been integrated on fighter aircraft.
“It is an engineering marvel in the aviation history of India. It proves that when all agencies come together with one mission, there is nothing like impossible,” said T. Suvarna Raju, Chairman and Managing Director, HAL.
Raju noted that this program was taken on by HAL as an indigenous challenge by its Nashik Division and the required data was generated without the assistance of an OEM for the modification. It is not the techno-economics of the project, but HAL’s commitment to self-reliance that drove HAL to sign the contract with BAPL in 2014 for modification of two Su-30 MKI aircraft for integration of the BrahMos missile, according to HAL. The first modified aircraft was airborne in one year and the second aircraft in the second year. This is the second project where HAL assumed the role of OEM and modified the airframe of license-built aircraft.
With the successful integration of BrahMos on the Su-30 MKI, the aircraft has become a lethal weapon delivery platform for the Indian Air Force and around 40 Su-30 MKI aircraft are expected to be modified. The maiden flight will be followed by series of test flights and complete evaluation and certification of the BrahMos missile on Su30 MKI aircraft, according to Raju.
The missile is developed by BAPL. Other agencies involved in the project include CEMILAC and DGAQA.