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India Successfully Test-Fires Supersonic Cruise Missile

India has successfully test-fired its 'Brahmos' supersonic cruise missile as part of a user trial by the country's Army, media reports citing defense officials said on Wednesday.

"The missile was test-fired from a ground mobile launcher from the launch complex-3 at about 1122 hours and the trial was successful," local media quoted a defense official as saying.

The surface-to-surface Army version missile was test-fired from the test range at Chandipur off the coast of the south-eastern state of Odisha. The Brahmos missile is capable of carrying a conventional warhead of 200 to 300 kilogramg and has a flight range of up to 290 kilometers.

The two-stage missile, the first one being solid and the second ramjet liquid propellant, had already been inducted into the Army and Navy. The first version of the missile system was inducted into the Indian Navy in 2005.

At present, the missile system is fully operational with two regiments of the Army. One regiment of the missile system consists of around 65 missiles, five mobile launchers, two mobile command posts as well as other related equipment.

In addition to the induction of the two regiments, the Indian government has given green signal to the Army to induct a third regiment for deployment in Arunachal Pradesh along the China border.

The supersonic cruise missile system is being developed by 'Brahmos Aerospace,' an Indo-Russian joint venture company headed by noted Indian defense scientist A. Sivathanu Pillai. The company is also developing the air as well as the submarine launch version of the missile system.

India has been attempting to enhance its military capabilities near its western and north-eastern borders for deterring Pakistan and China from posing any threats to the country's security. New Delhi is currently the biggest arms importer among developing countries.

Nuclear-armed India had fought three wars with Pakistan, of which two were over the disputed region of Kashmir, since the two nations gained independence from Britain in 1947. India accuses Pakistan, also a nuclear power, of supporting and sheltering Kashmiri separatists, but Pakistan denies the allegation.

India also fought a war with China in 1962 and the two nations have since exchanged fire along their disputed border at least on two occasions. Moreover, the Indian government has been concerned in recent years over China's growing economic power and military might.

by RTT Staff Writer

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