NEW DELHI, March 30 (UPI) — Russia and India are in discussions to develop a hypersonic cruise missile and are near agreement on a preliminary design, Indian officials said.
“In the near future, we will set up a joint working group which will work out the parameters of the missile in cooperation with developers, and also decide how much each side will contribute to the project,” Praveen Pathak, the head of the BrahMos Indian-Russian cruise missile program, told RIA Novosti.
The weapon will be capable of speeds of Mach 5 to Mach 7 (3,800 mph to 5,300 mph), he said.
Russian technological expertise in the field could drive the project, Western analysts said.
“Russia has a longstanding interest in high-speed weaponry and scramjet propulsion, which an Indo-Russian program could draw on,” said Douglas Barrie, air warfare analyst at London’s International Institute for Strategic Studies.
“The design of a genuine hypersonic missile, given the performance requirements, would likely be ‘new’ rather than using the present 3M55 Onyx/BrahMos design, which uses a ramjet for sustained supersonic flight,” he said.
An air-launched variant of the BrahMos Russian-Indian supersonic cruise missile will have a test firing by the end of this year, Pathak said, noting a ground-launched BrahMos was tested earlier this month.