BANGALORE: In first official word on extending the range of supersonic BrahMos cruise missile, DRDO chief S. Christopher declared on February 15 that India was looking at increasing the range of BrahMos to 450 km from the present 290 kms. A test is likely to be conducted around March 10, he said.
Addressing a press conference on the second day of the ongoing Aero India 2017 at Yelahanka Air Base here, the DRDO chief further said that new blocks of BrahMos could have a range capability of 800 to 850 kms. He also disclosed that talks were on with Vietnam for sale of Akash and aircraft missile system. Also talks with other nations for Akash, BrahMos and Helina missiles were going on, he added.
However, he denied any plans of extending the range of the Agni missile, which has a range above 5,000 km. The DRDO announcements come post- Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) developments as India became its member in June last year. The MTCR is an informal and voluntary partnership of countries to prevent the proliferation of missile and unmanned aerial vehicle technology capable of carrying above 500 kg payload for more than 300 km. It bans member countries to give such technology to countries outside the club. The range of the BrahMos missile, a joint venture of India and Russia, can be extended beyond the present 290 km.
The DRDO chief said that a change in the software will be needed, after which the missile (BrahMos) will be tested for an enhanced range of 450 km. “”We will tentatively test it around March 10,”” he said. Asked if India will also increase the range of the Agni V missile, Dr. Christopher said: “”We may not do it, because it can antagonise someone,”” he said without taking name of any country.”