BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile | UPSC

BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile | UPSC


BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile

      WHY IN NEWS:

BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile Successfully Test Fired from Indian Navy’s Stealth Destroyer, INS Chennai

MINISTRY? :- Ministry of Defence
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Defence : Missile Systems


For PRELIMS note down the technologies and capabilities in your Prelims book ( which you think you will forget ). This question already has been asked in Prelims . But still , we have to cover this in depth !

For MAINS we also have covered Missile Systems in this article . Go through it carefully . Let us dive in !


BrahMos, the supersonic cruise missile was successfully test fired by INS Chennai, hitting a target in the Arabian Sea.

BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile | UPSC


  • BRAHMOS is a two-stage missile with a solid propellant booster engine as its first stage which brings it to supersonic speed and then gets separated.

The liquid ramjet or the second stage then takes the missile closer to 3 Mach speed in cruise phase.

  • Stealth technology and guidance system with advanced embedded software provides the missile with special features.


The highly versatile BrahMos has been jointly designed, developed and produced by India and Russia.

  • BrahMos Aerospace Limited.
  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
  • NPO Mashinostroyeniya (Russia ).


The missile has flight range of up to 290-km with supersonic speed all through the flight.

This leads to :

  • Shorter flight time
  • Consequently ensuring lower dispersion of targets
  • Quicker engagement time
  • Non-interception by any known weapon system in the world.


It operates on ‘Fire and Forget Principle’, adopting varieties of flights on its way to the target.

  • Its destructive power is enhanced due to large kinetic energy on impact.
  • Its cruising altitude could be up to 15 km and terminal altitude is as low as 10 meters.


It carries a conventional warhead weighing 200 to 300 kgs.

Thus , BRAHMOS has:

  • 3 times more velocity
  • 2.5 to 3 times more flight range
  • 3 to 4 times more seeker range
  • 9 times more kinetic energy.


  • Universal for multiple platforms “Fire and Forget” principle of operation .
  • High supersonic speed all through the flight Long flight range with varieties of flight trajectories

Low radar signature Shorter flight times leading to lower target dispersion and quicker engagement

  • Pin point accuracy with high lethal power aided by large kinetic energy on impact
  • The missile has identical configuration for land, sea and sub-sea platforms.
  • It uses a Transport Launch Canister (TLC) for transportation, storage and launch.

BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile | UPSC


  • BRAHMOS is the first supersonic cruise missile known to be in service.

Induction of the first version of BRAHMOS Weapon Complex in the Indian Navy commenced from 2005 with INS Rajput as the first ship.

  • All future ships being built and ships coming for mid-life upgradation will be fitted with the missile.
  • The Indian Army has also inducted three regiments of BRAHMOS supersonic cruise missile.


  • Ship based Weapon Complex (Inclined & Vertical Configuration)
  • Land based Weapon Complex ( Vertical Launch Configuration from Mobile Autonomous Launcher)


A missile is an intelligent unmanned rocket designed to carry the payload to a designated point with an aim of destroying the object/target.

  • The missile is designed keeping in mind its target, trajectory, warhead, range, velocity and launch platform.


  • The propulsion system in a missile is required to achieve terminal conditions like range, speed and warhead carrying capability.

The missile is propelled either by rockets or jet engines using solid or liquid fuel.

  • Some missiles use hybrid technology for propelling it to its intended point.


  • The function of the guidance system is to maintain the missile in its desired flight path by using altitude control mechanism.

This is done by controlling the pitch, roll and yaw of the weapon.

  • The guidance system operates as an auto-pilot, damping out fluctuations that tend to deflect the missile from its intended flight path.
  • In some missiles, the guidance commands are generated internally by the missile’s computer.
  • In others, the commands are transmitted to the weapon by some external source.


  • The aerodynamic features of a missile, also called controlling surfaces, are used to control the missile’s flight.
  • The fins, wings and tail are the three major aerodynamic control surfaces used to steer the missile.
  • The missile’s course can be altered by moving these controlling surfaces.

In case of precision weapons, the target seeker comes into picture when the missile starts detecting its target.

  • The mechanism also works to determine the time of activating the warhead.
  • After finding out the target, the device sends an electrical impulse to trigger the activation system.
  • The target seeker is based either on radar or infra-red (IR) or laser devices.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • The warhead of a missile is selected keeping in mind its target type.
  • It inflicts damage on the target and hence determines the missile’s lethality.

An optimum position of burst is used to achieve the desired effect on the target limits – the closer the burst to the target, the smaller the warhead needed.

  • The missile is required to cause destruction on hard targets, before detonation of warhead, penetration is achieved by employing a variety of technologies.
     SOURCES: PIB | BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile | UPSC



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