Similar to the Russian anti-ship missile Onyx (Yakhont), the joint Russian-Indian manufactured cruise missile called Brahmos can reach out with its large warhead and hit enemy warships hundreds of kilometers away at supersonic speeds flying virtually at wave-top heights. No known defenses exists against this powerful missile system. These warship sinking cruise-missiles are relatively easy to manufacture, they are very affordable, and they strike terror in the hearts of naval admirals. When properly deployed, several of these relatively cheep anti-ship missiles can easily sink a multi-billion dollar aircraft carrier. This is the fundamental reason why Russia has steered away from developing costly and complex surface warships. The following are recent developments from the military sphere.
Russia, India to Develop New BrahMos Cruise Missile
Worlds fastest cruise missile: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mABPujJARk
Russia and India will jointly develop a new BrahMos-2 hypersonic cruise missile, the head of the BrahMos company said on Monday. "Today, at a meeting of the Russian-Indian intergovernmental commission on military-technical cooperation, we decided to set up a working group on the development of the BrahMos-2 missile," the company's CEO, Sivathanu Pillai said. "The new hypersonic missile will have a top speed of over Mach 5, which would make it impossible to intercept," he added. Established in 1998, BrahMos Aerospace, a joint Indian-Russian venture, produces and markets BrahMos supersonic missiles, whose sea-based and land-based versions have been successfully tested and put into service with the Indian army and navy. Pillai said that the company had finished the development of the airborne version of the BrahMos missile and the Indian air force had chosen the SU-30 MKI Flanker-H multirole fighter as a trial platform for the missile. The BrahMos missile has a range of 290 km (180 miles) and can carry a conventional warhead of up to 300 kg (660 pounds). It can hit ground targets flying at an altitude as low as 10 meters (30 feet) and has a top speed of Mach 2.8, which is about three times faster than the U.S.-made subsonic Tomahawk cruise missile. The head of BrahMos Aerospace earlier said that the recent acquisition of an assembly plant in the state of Kerala from Kerala Hightech Industries Ltd, in addition to the main plant in Hyderabad, would allow the company to increase production to 50 BrahMos missiles a year and fulfill orders from the army on schedule. Analysts estimate that India could purchase up to 1,000 BrahMos missiles for its armed forces in the next decade, and export 2,000 to other countries during the same period.
In other news:
Russian Warships to Hold Drills in Northern Atlantic
Russia's warships currently on a long-range sortie to the Caribbean will conduct a number of exercises in the Atlantic Ocean, a Northern Fleet spokesman said on Monday. A naval task group from the Northern Fleet, comprising the nuclear-powered missile cruiser Pyotr Velikiy (Peter the Great), the large ASW ship Admiral Chabanenko, and support ships, left a naval base in northern Russia on September 22 and is currently in the northern Atlantic, having covered a distance of 1,000 nautical miles (2,000 km) in a week. "The ships from the task group will hold a number of air defense and ASW exercises, and also various communications and maneuvering drills," Capt. 1st Rank Igor Babenko said. During the current tour of duty the Russian warships will also participate in joint naval exercises with the Venezuelan navy in the Caribbean on November 10-14, in line with the 2008 training program, and in order to expand military cooperation with foreign navies. During the entire mission, the task group is expected to cover a distance of 15,000 nautical miles (30,000 km). According to the Russian Navy, the movements of the convoy are closely monitored by the U.K. HMS Argyll frigate and NATO aircraft. Russia announced last year that its Navy had resumed and would build up a constant presence in different regions of the world's oceans.
Russia Plans to Raise Defense Expenditure by 50% in 3 Years
Russia is planning to increase its spending on defense by 50% in the next three years, a senior MP said Tuesday. Russia's defense budget is believed to be less than a tenth of the United States', but the country's military expenditure has been steadily growing in the past few years. "According to a draft federal budget for 2009-2011, expenditure on national defense will increase in 2009 by 25.7% from 1.02 trillion rubles ($40 billion) to 1.28 trillion rubles ($51.3 billion) and would account for 14% of total budget spending," said Viktor Zavarzin, chairman of the Defense Committee in Russia's lower house of parliament. He also said that by 2011 the total defense expenditures would increase by 45.6% compared with 2008. A large portion of additional expenditures would go toward raising salaries and improving the living conditions of military personnel, he added. Russia is soon to adopt a new military doctrine that aims to transform the Armed Forces into a mobile and effective military force. Their structures will be "optimized" through the use of combined arms units performing similar tasks. President Dmitry Medvedev said last week that Russia would make the modernization of its nuclear deterrent and Armed Forces a priority in the decade up to 2020. "We must ensure air superiority, precision strikes at land and sea targets, and timely deployment of troops," Medvedev said. "We are planning to launch large-scale production of warships, primarily, nuclear submarines with cruise missiles and multi-purpose attack submarines." Russia's Defense Ministry earlier said it would spend around 1 trillion rubles ($40 billion) of federal budget funds in 2008, 20% more than in 2007, and that in 2008-10 military spending would account for 15.5-16% of total federal budget spending.
New Russian Rapid Reaction Force
The Russian Defense Ministry intends to form Rapid Reaction Forces in the nearest future. They will consist of paratroopers, marines and special forces, according to Interfax AVN, citing defense sources. The formation of the forces is one of the urgent measures for the improvement of the Russian Armed Forces and is intended for the timely resistance to potential threats in any strategic area. The Rapid Reaction Forces will use 200-300 attack and army planes and helicopters that are organizational part of the Air Force tactical group. The collegium of the Defense Ministry will meet in Moscow on October 3 to discuss the organization and size of the forces and military issues connected with them.
India, Russia to Develop 2 Versions of 5th-Generation Fighter
Russia and India will jointly develop two versions of a new fifth-generation fighter, the head of an Indian defense company said on Monday. A Russian-Indian advanced multirole fighter is being developed by Sukhoi, which is part of Russia's United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), along with India's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), under an intergovernmental agreement signed in October 2007. "The aircraft will have different wings, electronics and radars," HAL Chairman Ashok K. Baweja said after a meeting of the Russian-Indian intergovernmental commission on military technical cooperation in New Delhi. He also said India will develop a two-seat version to meet the requirements of the Indian air superiority doctrine, while Russia will develop a single-seat fighter. Russia's Sukhoi aircraft maker earlier said it had started the construction of a prototype of the fifth-generation fighter, which will feature high maneuverability and stealth to ensure air superiority and precision in destroying ground and sea targets. The Russian version will be built at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur aircraft-manufacturing plant in Russia's Far East. Flight tests of the fifth-generation fighter will begin as early as 2009, and mass production of the aircraft may start by 2015, Sukhoi said. Russia's military cooperation with India goes back nearly half a century, and the country accounts for about 40% of Russian arms exports. Russian-Indian intergovernmental commission sessions are held annually and alternate between New Delhi and Moscow. The previous meeting took place in the Russian capital in October 2007.
Quite a Few Nations Interested in Russia's Iskander-E Missiles
Syria, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and other states are interested in buying Russia’s Iskander-E tactical missile systems, Rosoboronexport Director at Large Nikolay Dimidyuk said, Interfax reported. “The demand has been noted in Syria. The Emirates takes much interest in it. Malaysia, India are interested in it very much,” Dimidyuk told reporters Wednesday. Other states are eyeing it as well, but off-the-record, the official added. Iskander-E has great export potential, Dimidyuk said. “This is truly a high-precision weapon. Missile defense systems can’t hit the Iskander missile,” the official specified, explaining that the missiles have a perplexed flying trajectory and are able to make anti-missile maneuvers, which prevents their hitting. Iskander can fire horizontally, which doesn’t unmask it, and has a number of other vital combat characteristics, Dimidyuk pointed out. Iskander is produced in two variants – Iskander-M for Russia’s Armed Forces and Iskander-E for the export to other countries. The export variant slightly differs from the systems made by order of the RF Defense Ministry. Iskander-E can hit targets at the range of up to 280km, striking two different targets at a minute interval. Its trajectory isn’t of ballistic nature and forecasting it would be very difficult for an enemy, the more so that the missile is controlled during all flight.
Sukhoi Starts Testing 2nd Su-35 Fighter Prototype
Russia's Sukhoi aircraft maker has started flight tests of the second Su-35 Flanker multirole fighter to expedite the completion of the testing program, the company said on Thursday. "The addition of the second aircraft to the testing program will speed up its completion and ensure the beginning of deliveries to our customers in 2011," Sukhoi said in a statement. The first Su-35 successfully completed its first 6-minute demonstration flight on July 7 and has made over 40 test flights since then. All of them confirmed superior technical and combat characteristics of the aircraft. The Su-35 fighter, powered by two 117S engines with thrust vectoring, combines high maneuverability and the capability to effectively engage several air targets simultaneously using both guided and unguided missiles and weapon systems. The aircraft features the new Irbis-E radar with a phased antenna array, which allows the pilot to detect and track up to 30 air targets, while simultaneously engaging up to eight targets. It is equipped with a 30-mm cannon with 150 rounds and can carry up to eight tons of combat payload on 12 external mounts. Sukhoi earlier said it plans to start deliveries of the new aircraft, billed as "4++ generation using fifth-generation technology," to the Russian Air Force and foreign clients in 2011 and produce Su-35s over a period of 10 years up to 2020. The company is planning to export at least 160 Su-35 fighters in the future to a number of countries, including India, Malaysia and Algeria.
Russia's Strategic Bombers to Drill With Full Combat Payloads
Russian strategic bombers will conduct training flights with full combat payloads and live fire all cruise missiles on board for the first time in over two decades, an Air Force spokesman said. The live firing exercises in Russia's northern latitudes on October 6-12 are part of the Stability-2008 strategic maneuvers in various regions of Russia and Belarus with the goal of practicing strategic deployment of the Armed Forces, including the nuclear triad, to counter potential threats near the Russian border. "During these exercises, for the first time in many years, the crews of Tu-160 Blackjack and Tu-95MS Bear-H strategic bombers will fly missions carrying the maximum combat payload and fire all the cruise missiles on board," Lt. Col. Vladimir Drik said. Tu-95MS and Tu-160 aircraft can carry six and 12 Kh-55 (AS-15 Kent) long-range cruise missiles respectively. Drik said that the scope of the exercises would be unprecedented and involve, apart from the Tu-160s and Tu-95s, the Tu-22M3 Backfire strategic bombers, air superiority fighters, interceptors and aerial tankers. "The number and variety of aircraft involved in the drills shows the wide range of tasks that will be accomplished during the week-long exercise," the spokesman said. Former Air Force commander, General of the Army Pyotr Deynekin, said Russian Tu-95 bombers had conducted live firing of all their cruise missiles only once before, in 1984. "Tu-160 bombers have never done this because it is very expensive," the general said. According to various sources, in addition to 16 Tu-160 bombers the Russian Air Force currently has 40 Tu-95MS bombers and 141 Tu-22M3 bombers in service.