BrahMos attracts buyers at Latin American defence expo
New Delhi, April 26 (IANS) A joint military product of India and Russia, the supersonic BrahMos cruise missile has impressed countries at the recently concluded Latin American defence expo held in Brazil, with at least three nations showing keen interest in buying the missile system, a senior official said.
At the Latin America Aero and Defence expo organised at Rio de Janeiro April 14-17, defence officials from Brazil, Chile and South Africa thronged the stall of BrahMos.
'Brazil, Chile and South Africa have shown interest in the shore-based and ship-based versions of the missile,' a senior official of BrahMos Aerospace Ltd., told IANS.
India had shown the footage of the successful March 29 trial of the 32-tonne missile with a range of 290 km. The missile had hit the 'bull's eye' during the trial.
The defence minister of Brazil, South Africa's army chief and senior defence officials of Chile wanted more information about the missile.
'The officials were particularly keen to know more about the ship-based version of the missile,' the official said. He was also at the defence expo.
India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has recently conducted successful vertical launch of the missile in the Bay of Bengal.
'The speed of the missile also impressed them,' the official said.
The missile, which takes its name from the Brahmaputra and Moskva rivers, has a 300-km range and carries a 300-kg conventional warhead. It can achieve speeds of up to 2.8 Mach or nearly three times the speed of sound.
Cruise missiles fly at low altitudes and have the ability to evade enemy radars and air-defence systems. They are also easier and cheaper to operate.
Each missile system costs nearly Rs.100 million ($2 million) and the BrahMos Aerospace Ltd plans to sell 1,000 of them.
The Indian Army has already begun inducting the land-fired version of the BrahMos, with the first battery entering service in June 2007. Each battery is equipped with four mobile launchers mounted on heavy 12x12 Tatra transporters.
The army plans to induct three more such batteries.
The anti-ship naval version has also been inducted into service with its integration on the destroyer INS Rajput, with two other ships of the same class to be similarly equipped.
The missiles will also be mounted on the three 7,000-tonne Kolkata class destroyers currently being constructed at Mumbai's Mazagon docks.
(Ritu Sharma can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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