2008: Indian and French companies are
offering the Indian DRDO (Defense Research & Development Organization) an
easy to avoid another procurement disaster. The proposal is that the Indian and
French firms cooperate to develop a new short range anti-aircraft missile for
the army (which is using an obsolete Russian system).
takes decades to develop such stuff, and the result is usually mediocre or unacceptable. But the most attractive
aspect of this pitch is the recent success of the joint Russian-Indian
development of the new PJ-10 BrahMos missile. This 3.2 ton missile has a range
of 300 kilometers and a 660 pound warhead. Perhaps the most striking
characteristic of the BrahMos is its high speed, literally faster (at up to
3,000 feet per second) than a rifle bullet. The missile is used by the army,
navy and air force.
Russia developed the weapon together, creating an upgraded version of the
Russian SS-NX-26 (Yakhont) missile, which was in development when the Cold War
ended in 1991. Lacking money to finish development and begin production, the
Russian manufacturer made a deal with India to finish the job. India put up
most of the $240 million needed to finally complete two decades of development.
The PJ-10 is also being built in Russia. India plans to buy 1,000 of them, and
efforts are being made to export up to 2,000. Russia and India are encouraged enough to
invest in BrahMos 2, which will use a scramjet, instead of a ramjet, in the
second stage. This would double speed, and make the missile much more difficult
to defend against.
India, the "BrahMos Approach" is seen as an effective way to improve the
capabilities of Indian weapons development managers. The sad history of DRDO development debacles were not just the
result of inept government bureaucrats, but poor management by civilian
executives as well. The French firm, MDBA, is no stranger, as it has been
providing India with military technology for two decades, and has a long track
record of successful missile development. India believes it can obtain much
management experience (in how to do it right) in return for funding another
international weapons development program.