Bengaluru, Feb 18: Aerospace scientists in Bengaluru and Moscow have quietly begun work on the hypersonic version of supersonic cruise missile BrahMos. "They have been breathing only hypersonic for some time now," BrahMos Aerospace CEO and Managing Director Sudhir Kumar Mishra told OneIndia during an exclusive interview.
He said ahead of India, the United States of America (X51), Russia (GLL-AP-02) and China (WU14) have already made some attempts in demonstrating unmanned scramjet demonstration flights, leading to their possible hypersonic flights in future. "May be in the next 7-12 years, we want to be the first country in the world to develop a hypersonic missile. We are confident," Mishra said.
He said the BrahMos Aerospace has indentified 13 focussed areas to undertake research and development to achieve hypersonic levels. "There are 14 research facilities in India now that can aid our hypersonic mission," he said.
Mishra said that Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will hand over the documents of the first Sukhoi fitted with the BrahMos air version.
"We have completed the electrical and mechanical integration of the missile with the Sukhoi. HAL did an exceptionally good job. I understand the second Sukhoi has been already handed over to HAL two days back for integrating another missile. The first flight-test from Sukhoi should happen in the next two months," Mishra said.
He said a replica of the BrahMos launcher made by its facility in Thiruvananthapuram will be on display at Aero India 2015.
Mishra said that both governments are keen to develop mini, next-generation BrahMos, being termed as BrahMos-NG."It is just an idea now. We want to work towards this dream. I believe in achieving small goals and moving ahead. I believe that BrahMos-NG will be a reality one day," Mishra said.
He said in future, five missiles (BrahMos-NG) could be fitted on to a Sukhoi. To a query, Mishra said the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) being planned by Aeronautical Development Agency will be capable of carrying the air version of BrahMos.
Confirming the expansion plans of BrahMos to OneIndia, Mishra said that the new thought process mandates increase the integration and production capacity. "We need to develop the capacity for life extension. In addition, we need to give product support as well. A new facility is coming up in Plani (Rajasthan) which will act as a Product Support Centre," Mishra said.
BrahMos Aerospace is headquartered in New Delhi with an Integration Complex in Hyderabad and Nagpur. The BrahhMos Aerospace Thiruvananthapuram Ltd is the third wing situated in Kerala.
Mishra, who took over as the BrahMos CEO in August 2014, said that he has set his ‘specific goals' towards taking his team towards ‘achieving challenging and exciting tasks' ahead.
"The autonomy BrahMos Aerospace enjoys needs be justified through an inspiring work culture linked to deliverables. I am keen to have transparency in all my areas of work. I am keen that BrahMos work partners (DRDO in India and NPOM in Russia) get the finest technologies available in the world today. The success of BrahMos is a result of the people-to-people relationship between India and Russia," the top missile scientist said.
When asked whether BrahMos would add more man power, the soft-spoken, to-the-point captain of captain of BrahMos said that he believed in the lean, mean and smart philosophy of work.
(The writer is a seasoned aerospace and defence journalist in India. He is the Consultant Editor (Defence) with OneIndia and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets @writetake.)