A supersonic BrahMos cruise missile may be installed on a Fifth-Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) jointly developed by Russia and India, head of the Russian-Indian BrahMos Aerospace enterprise, Sudhir Mishra, said Monday. The FGFA has stealth capabilities and is based on the Russian T-50 prototype jet. The FGFA project came about following the signing of a Russian-Indian cooperation agreement on October 18, 2007.
BrahMos is a short-range supersonic missile, which has been used by the Indian Navy since 2005. The missile has a range of 180 miles and can carry a conventional warhead of up to 660 pounds.
With its Mach 3.0 speed and 180-mile range, the BrahMos missile used in combination with the PAK-FA would enable India to hit Chinese and Pakistani targets with relative impunity. A Mach 3.0-capable cruise missile is difficult to counter. According to U.S. Navy sources, the BrahMos has a particular terminal phase that makes it particularly difficult to intercept.
The completed FGFA will include a total of 43 improvements over the T-50, including stealth, supercruise, advanced sensors, networking and combat avionics. Two separate prototypes will be developed, one by Russia and a separate one by India. The Indian version will be a two-seater for pilot and co-pilot/Weapon Systems Operator (WSO).
India wants the stealth fighter jet to be inducted into the Indian Air Force much before 2024-25 – the date that was fixed for delivery. India plans to build as many as 127 fighters at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited facility in Nashik. The Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) project is estimated to cost $25 billion.