NEW DELHI, December 31 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian-Indian joint venture BrahMos has bought a manufacturing plant in south India to double production of its supersonic cruise missiles, a company spokesman said on Monday.
The joint venture has bought a plant from state company Kerala Hightech Industries Ltd, the purchase that would allow it to bring production to 50 BrahMos missiles a year.
Praveen Pathak said the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), which represents the Indian side in the BrahMos venture, will invest around $25 million in the plant within a year or two, and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) will invest another $6 million.
“At the plant in [the state of] Kerala, we will assemble BrahMos missiles, as well as make components for Astra rockets produced by ISRO,” Pathak said.
Earlier reports said the contract on the transfer of the plant’s ownership to BrahMos will be signed January 1, 2008.
Established in 1998, BrahMos Aerospace designs, produces and markets supersonic missiles, whose sea-based and land-based versions have been successfully tested and put into service with the Indian Army and Navy.
The Brahmos missile has a range of 180 miles and can carry a conventional warhead of up to 660 pounds. It can hit ground targets flying at an altitude as low as 10 meters (30 feet) and at a speed of Mach 2.8, which is about three times faster than the U.S.-made subsonic Tomahawk cruise missile.
Experts estimate that India might purchase up to 1,000 BrahMos missiles for its Armed Forces in the next decade, and export 2,000 to third countries during the same period.
Work is currently underway to create aircraft- and submarine-based BrahMos missiles.