BrahMos Missile


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Prelims: General Science

Mains: Science and Technology- Developments and their Applications and Effects in Everyday Life. Achievements of Indians in Science & Technology; Indigenization of Technology and Developing New Technology.

BrahMos is a long-range nuclear-capable supersonic cruise missile system. It possesses the capability to be deployed from several platforms, including air, sea, and land. It is capable of travelling at speeds of up to Mach 3, and it is one of the world’s fastest cruise missiles. It was developed by BrahMos Aerospace and tested for the first time in 2001.

BrahMos is named after the rivers Brahmaputra and Moskva (Russia). BrahMos is the potent offensive missile weapon system already inducted into the Armed Forces.

Working of BrahMos Missile

BrahMos is a cruise missile, which is an unmanned self-propelled guided vehicle that flies for the majority of its flight path using aerodynamic lift and whose primary mission is to deliver ordnance or a special payload to a target.

  • Launch Platforms: Cruise missiles can be launched from a variety of platforms, including ground, air, sea, and submarine.
  • Propulsion and Flight:Jet engines are the primary mode of propulsion for cruise missiles. Most cruise missiles are subsonic and use Turbofan and Turbojet engines. While less common, supersonic and hypersonic cruise missiles utilize Ramjet and Scramjet engines.
    • Cruise missiles can fly to their targets at various altitudes as long as they stay within the atmosphere. Most remain close to the Earth's surface, skimming just meters above the ground.
    • Their low flight path makes it much more difficult for most radar and sensor systems to detect the missile unless the radar or sensor system is airborne and directed toward the ground.
    • Because flying at high altitude saves fuel, it can extend the range of the missile. However, because today's radars and sensors are typically positioned to detect and track high-altitude threats, the missile becomes more vulnerable to missile defence systems.
    • Cruise missiles can also combine high and low-altitude flight paths to reap the benefits of both.
  • Guidance: Cruise missiles can use a variety of guidance methods to precisely place their ordinance on the desired target while avoiding missile defense systems.

Formation of BrahMos Aerospace

Following the Gulf War of the 1990s, it became increasingly clear that the country needed a cruise missile system. As a result, in 1998, India and Russia signed an intergovernmental agreement in Moscow.

  • It paved the way for the formation of BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture betweenIndia's Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Russia's NPO Mashinostroyenia (NPOM).
  • Objectives: The partnership's goal was to design, develop, manufacture, and market the world's first supersonic cruise missile system-BRAHMOS.
  • According to the agreement, the two countries agreed to develop and manufacture the missile jointly, with India owning 50.5% of the JV and Russia owning the remaining 49.5%.
  • On June 12, 2001, the first successful launch of BrahMos occurred. The missile was launched from a land-based launcher at the Interim Test Range off the coast of Chandipur in Orissa.

Brahmos Missile Series

BrahMos is a long-range supersonic cruise missile system capable of being launched from land, sea, or air. BrahMos has been jointly developed by DRDO, India, and NPOM, Russia. BrahMos weapon systems have been inducted and are operational with the Indian Armed Forces. BrahMos missile's trajectory cannot be predicted so easily, which makes it difficult to counter missile defences.

BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile

Since its first launch in 2001, it has been upgraded several times, with versions tested on land, air, and sea platforms.

BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile

- BrahMos is a two-stage missile with a solid propellant booster engine that propels it to supersonic speed before separating.

  • During the cruise phase, the liquid ramjet or second stage, propels the missile closer to 3 Mach.

- Special Features

  • Universal for multiple platforms.
  • stealth technology and a guidance system with advanced embedded software.
  • “Fire and Forget” principle of operation
  • High supersonic speed all through the flight (up to 290 km).
  • Long flight range with varieties of flight trajectories
  • Low radar signature.
  • Shorter flight times lead to lower target dispersion and quicker engagement.
  • Pinpoint accuracy with high lethal power.

- It carries a conventional warhead weighing 200 to 300 kg.

- The missile has an identical configuration for land, sea, and sub-sea platforms and uses a Transport Launch Canister (TLC) for transportation, storage, and launch.


A rapid revolution in military technology worldwide has paved the way for the development of yet another futuristic weapon - BrahMos-NG (Next Generation). BrahMos-NG promises to become one of the most potent weapon systems in the future, carrying forward the excellent lineage of the existing world-class BrahMos.





- BrahMos NG is a multi-platform, multi-target, and lightweight weapon system, making it perfect for the battlefield.

- Range: 290 kilometers 

- Speed: up to 3.5 Mach.

- It has a smaller radar cross-section (RCS) than the previous missile, making it more difficult for air defence systems to detect and engage the target.

- It was created to be deployed on ground-based, aerial, surface, and underwater platforms.

  • Because of its small size, this missile can be launched from submarine torpedo rooms.

- Key features of BrahMos-NG would be:

  • Reduced Dimension and weight for widespread usage
  • Advanced next-generation stealth
  • Higher versatility in underwater combat applications
  • Launch readiness from Torpedo tube and vertical orientation.


BrahMos-II, also known as BrahMos Mark II, is a hypersonic cruise missile (HCM). It will be used as a ship-based HCM to increase the offensive capabilities of the Indian Navy in the Indian Ocean region. This will help India counter the growing belligerence of China in the Indo-Pacific region.


- The Hypersonic BrahMos-II will be inspired by Russia's 3M22 Tsirkon anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile, specifically the scramjet engine technology used in it.

- Expected range: over 300 miles

- Speeds of up to Mach 7.

- It is intended to be launched from a variety of platforms, including land, air, and sea.

Versions of BrahMos

A triad of BrahMos, including land-based formations along borders, BrahMos-equipped Sukhoi-30s at bases (Air Force) in the northern theatre and southern peninsula, and BrahMos-capable ships and submarines deployed in the sea.

  • As multi-dimensional warfare requirements evolve, the BrahMos is undergoing a number of upgrades, and work is underway to develop versions with greater range, manoeuvrability, and accuracy.
  • Versions deployed in all three armed forces are still being tested on a regular basis, as are versions in development.

Land Based


- The land-based BrahMos complex has four to six mobile autonomous launchers, each with three missiles that can be fired almost simultaneously.

- The upgraded land attack version, which can cruise at 2.8 Mach, can hit targets at a range of up to 400 km with pinpoint accuracy.

Ship Based



- The ship-based BrahMos complex has the capability to hit sea-based targets beyond theradar horizon. 

- The Naval version has been successful in sea-to-sea and sea-to-land modes and can target a group of frigates.


Air Launched Brahmos



- BrahMos was successfully flight-tested from a Sukhoi-30MKI against a sea-based target.

- BrahMos-equipped Sukhoi-30MKI, which has a range of 3000 km at a stretch without mid-air refuelling.

- Future plans include integrating this missile with the LCA Tejas.



- This version can be launched from approximately 50 meters below the water's surface.

- The canister-stored missile is launched vertically from the submarine's pressure hull and uses different settings for underwater and out-of-water flights.

Significance of BrahMos Missile

The missile is highly versatile and its unmatched speed, precision, and power make it the ultimate modern weapon. Developers say that the missile has a strike accuracy rate of 99.99 per cent. A powerful weapon like BrahMos has undoubtedly changed the security dynamics for India in a rapidly evolving regional and global geostrategic order.

  • High speed: Operationally, the high speed of the BrahMos gives it better target-penetration characteristics compared to the lighter subsonic cruise missiles, such as Tomahawk.
  • Security: The tests of land, ship, and air-launched BrahMos certainly project India’s firm strategic posture in the light of situations along the LAC and China's ambitions in the Indian Ocean Region.
  • Self Reliance: The BrahMos model stands as a forerunner to the future of Indian defence manufacturing, sustenance, and the first step towards self-reliance with the creation of a BrahMos Missile Industrial Complex.
  • Boost Defence Export: From a defence importer country, India now emerging as a defence exporter.
    • For instance, in 2022, India inked an export deal with the Philippines of a $375 million contract for the BrahMos shore-based anti-ship missile system and talks are also going on with over 12 other countries for exports of BrahMos missiles.

PYQs on BrahMos Missile

Question 1: Consider the following statements: (UPSC Prelims 2023)

  1. Ballistic missiles are jet-propelled at subsonic speeds throughout their flights, while cruise missiles are rocket-powered only in the initial phase of flight.
  2. Agni-V is a medium-range supersonic cruise missile, while BrahMos is a solid-fuelled intercontinental ballistic missile.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (d)

FAQs on BrahMos Missile

What are the specifications of the BrahMos Missile?

BrahMos is a two-stage missile with a solid propellant booster engine as its first stage that propels it to supersonic speed before separating. Other features of the missile are the “Fire and Forget” principle of operation and high supersonic speed throughout the flight (up to 290 km).

What is the history of the Brahmos Missile?

The BrahMos Missile was the fastest supersonic cruise missile at the time of its introduction and was the result of a joint venture called BrahMos Aerospace between India’s DRDO and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyeniya. BrahMos Aerospace was formed in 1998.

What are the specifications of BrahMos II?

The Hypersonic BrahMos II will be inspired by Russia's 3M22 Tsirkon anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile, specifically the scramjet engine technology used in it. The BrahMos-II is expected to have a range of over 300 miles and travel at speeds of up to Mach 7.