India testfires submarine-launched BrahMos missile

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India successfully testfired its submarine-launched version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile for the first time on Wednesday in the Bay of Bengal off the coast of the southern port city of Visakhapatnam, a top official said.

"The submarine-launched version of BrahMos was successfully testfired from an underwater pontoon near Visakhapatnam in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. This is the first testfiring of an underwater supersonic cruise missile anywhere in the world and the missile traveled its complete range of over 290 km," Head of BrahMos A. Sivathanu Pillai told the media.

With the testfiring, India became the world's first country to have this capability. The country has already successfully testfired the ship and ground-launched versions of the missile for the Indian Navy and the Indian Army respectively.

"BrahMos missile is fully ready for fitment in submarines in vertical launch configuration which will make the platform one of the most powerful weapon platforms in the world," Pillai added.

A hypersonic version of the missile is currently under development with speed of Mach 7 to boost aerial fast strike capability. It is expected to be ready for testing by 2017, according to sources.

The BrahMos missile program is a joint venture between India's state-owned Defense Research and Development Organisation and Russia's NPO Mashinostroeyenia who have together formed BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited. The name BrahMos is a portmanteau formed from the names of two rivers, the Brahmaputra of India and the Moskva of Russia.

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