Thursday, February 8, 2018

Not Really A Surprise.

Hindustan Times reported this on January 20th : 

800-km range BrahMos missile to be tested this year

As the newspaper reports:

“The Sukhoi has a range of 3,600 km. Arming it with an 800-km range missile will increase its reach tremendously, and even more, considering the option of midair refuelling,” the official said.
The missile’s land and naval variants are already in service. At least two Su-30 squadrons with 20 planes each are likely to be equipped with the air-launch variant BrahMos missile, 500 kg lighter than the land/naval variants.
Two Su-30 jets have been modified by the Nasik division of the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to carry the 2.5-tonne missile that flies at nearly three times the speed of sound.

BrahMos, being a derivative of Russia's P-800 Onyx missile, pretty much demonstrates an inexorable step of anti-shipping missile weapons' development, in which range and speed will continue to increase dramatically. Part of the answer to this development is, of course, in fuels and materials. With hyper-sonic Zircon 3M22 being already in IOC stage and having new, very high impulse, fuels developed for it, it is no surprise that very soon, if not already, we will see high supersonic weapons such as Onyx being capable to cover distances in 1000+ kilometer range and that changes naval warfare completely. Just to give an idea what it means to search and "secure" (in civilian lingo) the area of operations for, say, Carrier Battle Group, we may say that it will require a coverage of the area: 3.14 x 1000^2= 3 140 000 square kilometers, within which the salvo of such missiles can be launched by a single or combination of platforms. This is about the size of India and only if the launch is done by submarine or surface ship.

So, you get the idea. Modern space and over-the-horizon reconnaissance systems can provide real time picture of the surface and targeting pretty reliably. And then, of course, comes the issue of missile-carrying aircraft's ranges and that gets us altogether into the very remote sea and ocean zones. For India and her Armed Forces such a capability comes very handy if one considers that India views Indian Ocean as her internal lake and is not very happy with China being present there.  In related news, as Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov stated two days ago, Russia's Pacific Fleet will get all four modernized Project 949A Oscar-II SSGNs by 2021, with the first modernized one, Omsk, delivered this year, one year earlier than planned. Each of those subs will carry 72 3M14 and 3M54 Kalibr-family missiles and who knows what else--we may only speculate.

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