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India set to launch first underwater-based missile

14.09.2007 India could soon test its first submarine-launched ballistic missile, the Press Trust of India quoted the Defense Ministry as saying Tuesday, denying that it has already test-fired an SLBM.

The ministry said the trials are being undertaken in the Bay of Bengal. And earlier reports said that India had carried out a test firing of a SLBM with a range of 1,500 km.

"No SLBM of the stated range has been launched," the spokesman said.

The PTI said the trials, which are being undertaken by the Defense Research and Development Organization, assume significance in the wake of recent statements made by Defense Minister A K Antony, that India has produced a submarine-launched version of the BrahMos cruise missile.

"The submarine-launched missile is ready and waiting the required platform for trial," Antony said, adding that the Navy would soon identify the platform to carry out such a test.

The submarines currently in service with the Indian Navy, namely the German HDW series and the Russian Kilo class, do not have the capability to launch such missiles.

India has asked Russia for a loan of submarines to carry out test trials of the BrahMos underwater-launched missiles, or alternatively, that the trials be carried out in Russian waters, Naval sources said. India's Army adopted the BrahMos missile for service in late June.

The missile was developed as part of a joint venture set up by DRDO and Russia's Mashinostroyenia science and production association.

BrahMos is designed to engage 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.

The company is currently working on an airborne version, which could be installed on the Sukhoi-30MKI (Flanker) air superiority fighters of the Indian Air Force.

Experts estimate that India could 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.

Source: RIA Novosti

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