On 30 October 2020, the Indian Air Force carried out a historic test in which the Sukhoi 30 MKI fighter jet test-fired an air-launched version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile over the Bay of Bengal. The air-launched missile hit the target ship with deadly accuracy and the test-firing produced the desired results with pinpoint accuracy.
This particular test is unique because the Su-30 MKI fighter belonging to Thanjavur-based Tigersharks Squadron, flown from an Indian Air Force base in Punjab, was refuelled mid-air before the missile was launched. The aircraft covered a distance of more than 4000 kilometres before firing the air-launched version of the BrahMos missile which itself has a range beyond 350 kilometres.
By this test, the Indian Airforce demonstrated that it has the capability to target any enemy ship or location beyond 4500 kilometers by its fighter jets. In the last two months, India has tested the Extended Range BrahMos missile and also fired it from the Indian Navy’s latest stealth destroyer INS Chennai. We had covered the impressive capabilities of the BrahMos missile in our exclusive article. While land and ship-based versions of BrahMos missile have been much discussed in Indian media however the most dangerous BrahMos missile will be the ones which will be launched from submarines or from fighter aircraft because both of these platforms can literally go invisible.
During this test Indian Air Force demonstrated that its fighter can take off from Punjab to hit targets somewhere near Andaman and Nicobar Island. If we simply transform this distance in the military capabilities of India then now it is practically possible for a Sukhoi 30 MKI fighter taking off from Andaman and Nicobar Island hitting Chinese Yulin Naval Base in Hainan which is in the South China Sea. Thus for the first time in its history, the Indian Air Force has the capability to hit the Chinese eastern coast and Chinese ships in the South China Sea while flying from Indian airbases. After the retirement of the Indian Air Force Canberra fleet on 11 May 2007, India presently has no bomber aircraft while China has a fleet of Xian H-6 strategic bombers which are armed with long-range cruise missiles and can attack India.
Now by successfully matching India’s most dangerous missile BrahMos with India’s most capable fighter jet Sukhoi 30 MKI India has created a formidable weapon platform that is unparalleled in the world. This will allow the Indian Air Force to have unparalleled capabilities. After this test, the Indian Air Force will theoretically have the capability to launch large-scale military strikes on the Chinese mainland which will serve as a tough deterrent for any future Chinese aggression. Currently, the Government of India has already ordered to modify 40 of Sukhoi 30MKI fighters for carrying BrahMos missile therefore at any given point of time India will be able to launch two squadrons of Sukhoi 30MKI fighters armed with BrahMos missile.
Finally, Team Guarding India is confident that the air-launched BrahMos missile will be the most lethal missile of India with truly strategic implications as now India can launch large scale cruise missile strikes to saturate any target.