Submarines: Boat Mods for BrahMos

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September 6, 2007: India has completed development of a submarine launched version of its BrahMos cruise missile. There's one catch, none of India's submarines (German 209 class and Russian Kilos) are capable of launching the missile. The 29 foot long, 670mm diameter missile is an upgraded version of the Russian SS-NX-26 (Yakhont), 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 missile is being built in Russia, with India as the initial customer. Several other nations have expressed interest.

The high price of each missile, about $2.3 million, restricts the number of countries that can afford it. The weapon entered service with the Indian navy in 2005. Different versions of the BrahMos can be fired from the air, from ships or submarines. The maximum speed of 3,000 kilometers an hour makes it harder to intercept, and means it takes five minutes or less to reach its target. The air launched version weighs 2.5 tons, the others, three tons or more.

The missile is too large for the standard 533mm torpedo tubes, and the plan is to modify some of the Kilo class ships, to handle BrahMos. This would involve building a container for two or more BrahMos missiles, outside the pressure hull. A similar system has been employed in American and Russian subs.


 


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