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India's Indigenous Ramjet Engine Set to Better Affordability of BrahMos Missiles

© AP Photo / Ajit KumarIndia's supersonic Brahmos cruise missiles
India's supersonic Brahmos cruise missiles - Sputnik India, 1920, 28.05.2024
The BrahMos is set to play a key role in India's defense exports after delivering its maiden order to the Philippines this year.
India's Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) is currently developing an indigenous ramjet engine for the BrahMos missiles to make it more affordable for exports.

Promoting an Indian Ramjet Engine for the BrahMos

India's Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) aims on making the air vehicles accessible for exports after tasting success with Manila being its first foreign buyer. According to an expert, BrahMos Aerospace is developing a brand new projectile, based on locally developed technologies.
DRDO is devising a technology demonstrator liquid fuel ramjet (LFRJ) engine of 350 mm diameter for potential applications in missiles and aerial targets, an Indian Air Force (IAF) veteran and military expert Vijainder K. Thakur told Sputnik India on Tuesday.
He explained that the LFRJ is based on the liquid ramjet propulsion technology India acquired from Russia as part of the joint development of the BrahMos projectile.

"Notably, the BrahMos is the only supersonic cruise missile in the world that employs liquid Ramjet technology," Thakur stated.

The expert revealed that the LFRJ is also proposed to be used to develop a target drone for providing more realistic combat training for IAF pilots. According to him, a variant of the LFRJ will likely power the BrahMos NG air vehicle, a lighter variant of the BrahMos-A being developed for launch by medium and light fighters of the IAF. The BrahMos-A can only be launched by India's heavy fighter – Su-30MKI, the defense commentator reckoned.
Further on, Thakur mentioned that BrahMos Aerospace is developing another variant called the BrahMos-M. It will be an altogether new missile that will use indigenous technologies developed for the rocket.

How Induction of Indigenous Ramjet Engine to Make BrahMos More Affordable

Thakur underlined that the structural integrity and functional performance of the missile with a locally manufactured liquid ramjet were proven during the test. Having mastered both airframe and ramjet engine technology for the BrahMos, the DRDO will now be able to optimize the projectile for greater range, he explained.

"The DRDO has indicated that an 800-km range variant of the missile is being developed," the former IAF pilot emphasized.

However, the ramjet engine is the most expensive item in the missile package. In 2022, a single unit of the BrahMos cost around INR 340 million. The DRDO plans to bring this down considerably to enhance the BrahMos rocket's chances of luring more international buyers by offering them a world-class product at a reasonable cost.

"As a result of the indigenization, the cost of the missile is likely to drop dramatically making it more competitive in the export market," Thakur asserted.

Initially, BrahMos were assembled in India using ramjet engines produced at a plant in the Orenburg province of Russia.
Later, BrahMos Aerospace signed a technology agreement with its Russian counterpart to facilitate indigenous manufacture of the engine, Thakur noted.
India has since started using locally manufactured ramjet engines on the BrahMos. Thakur specified that major airframe assemblies which form an integral part of the Ramjet Engine are indigenously developed by the country's Industry, including metallic and non-metallic airframe sections comprising Ramjet fuel tank and pneumatic fuel supply system.
Brahmos missile  - Sputnik India, 1920, 17.05.2024
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