Friday, February 15, 2008

LiveFist EXCLUSIVE: The Truth About BrahMos - Part V

Part V
The Lowdown On BrahMos-2

BrahMos Aerospace is currently in the process of formalising a techno-commercial proposal for the BrahMos-2 hypersonic cruise missile. Unlike the BrahMos, the BrahMos-2 will be an all new missile built from scratch.

BrahMos CEO Dr A Sivathanu Pillai told LiveFist, "The missile will require a new engine. We will be sharing work from the beginning. We will start work from scratch." It is Dr Pillai's personal estimate that the total project cost of BrahMos-2 will be $1 billion.

The programme team has conceptualised an aviation kerosene-based cruise vehicle capable of speeds ranging from Mach 5 to 8. The range of the missile is yet to be decided, and will be only hinted at in the techno-commercial proposal likely to be submitted to the government later this year.

A Joint Committee on BrahMos-2 which includes representatives from DRDO and NPOM, has been formed to chart out the programme's course. It had its first marathon meeting in Hyderabad four months ago. Their preliminary report, which was submitted to Dr Pillai, had in turn been forwarded for Defence Minister AK Antony's inspection. At the Inter-Governmental meeting in Moscow late last year, both sides took up the Joint Committee report, ratified it, and decided in principle to continue with the BrahMos-2 programme.

Scientists and project managers identified by both sides are now in the process of finalising their techno-commercial proposal document. The business model for BrahMos-2 will be identical to BrahMos and will function under the already incorporated BrahMos Aerospace Pvt Ltd. Basically, this means that all the capital for the project will be solely from New Delhi's coffers -- in the sense that like in BrahMos, Russia's investment in BrahMos-2 will be in the form diverted loan repayments from India.

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