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KOCHI (India), September 26 (Itar-Tass) - Work on a scaled-down version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile co-produced by Russia and India is in the initial stage and the rocket may be phased into service in 2017, Dr. Sivathanu Pillai, CEO and MD of the BrahMos Aerospace Company, told Itar-Tass on Thursday.
"In order to install a BrahMos rocket on board a fighter plane, it is essential to reduce the rocket's weight. A reduced version got the name of BrahMos-M (mini). After work on a detail design and an initial configuration of the rocket is completed, the development of the rocket proper will ensue," he pointed out.
According to Dr. Pillai, since the project "is in its initial stage, it is difficult to tell when the rocket may be phased into service". "Nevertheless, we expect that it will be adopted in the range of 2017," Dr. Pillai added.
The weight of a prospective rocket will be 1.5 tons and its length will be about six meters. It will be designed for Su-30MKI and MiG-29 fighter planes. However, it will be also fit for other operational combat aircraft or those set to be adopted by the Air Force of India, including Rafale and Mirage-2000 aircraft.
The first launch of an aviation version of BrahMos rocket (BrahMos-A) is slated for June 2014. A Su-30MKI fighter plane armed with it must be ready in September 2015. Only one BrahMos rocket can be mounted on it. In case of the manufacture of reduced versions of the rocket, the Su-30MKI will be able to carry three rockets and it will be possible to put two BrahMos-M rockets on a MiG-29.
The Russo-Indian joint-venture enterprise BrahMos was established in 1998 and got its name in honour of the rivers Brahmaputra and Moskva. The Company is the technological partner of India's first naval and shipbuilding exhibition NAMEXPO-2013 held in the city of Kochi in the southern state of Kerala these days.