New Delhi: Indo-Russian joint venture BrahMos Aerospace is working on a hypersonic cruise missile that can touch speeds ranging from five to seven times that of sound.
The cruise missile's supersonic version for the land forces can touch speeds of two times the speed of sound and has a 290-km range.
"The hypersonic version of the BrahMos, to be called BrahMos-II, is in its design and technological development stage. It will take some time to mature. But our aim is for it to touch Mach 5 to 7 speeds, making it the fastest cruise missile in the world," BrahMos' Chief Executive Officer A Sivathanu Pillai said at the DefExpo here.
"The hypersonic missile, which will be smaller than BrahMos-I, will definitely provide an advantage to the Indian armed forces in future warfare," Pillai said when asked about the need for the missile.
The hypersonic version of the BrahMos would be built for its air platforms.
Already, the BrahMos is in the process of developing an air platform-based supersonic cruise missile and Sukhoi fighter jets of the IAF have been chosen as the platform for integrating the missile.
"The BrahMos will be integrated in to the Su-30MKI's built in India. But the aircraft would be sent to Russia for fitting a modified structure for the missile's integration. We plan to get it done by 2012," he said.
Apart from the Sukhois, currently being built at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited's (HAL) facility in Bangalore on a technology transfer from Russia, other systems that would be Indian in the BrahMos plans are its launchers.
"The whole system including the aircraft would soon go for dummy trials and the missile integration process onto the Sukhois should start by next year," he said.
Meanwhile, Russia's Minister for Trade and Industries Victor Khrishtenko visited the BrahMos stall at the DefExpo, where he spoke to reporters about the possibilities of the Indo-Russian partnership in the field of defence.
Khristenko, giving the example of BrahMos which stood for Rivers Brahmaputra and Moscow being a joint venture between the two countries, said the defence cooperation between Indian and Russia was moving away from a seller-buyer relations to joint development phase.
He said Russia was now sharing technology with India for production of defence products within India that included T-90 tanks, Sukhoi aircraft, aviation engines, and military helicopters.
Referring to the deals signed between the two countries during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Moscow last December, Khristenko said the new relationship mandated that Russia provide after-sales repair and service, apart from product support, such as spare parts.