New Delhi: India will test-fire the submarine-launched version of the 290km range BrahMos supersonic cruise missile by the end of 2011.
"We will test-fire the underwater version of the missile by the end of this year (2011) after we get the pontoon for the purpose," BrahMos Aerospace chief A Sivathanu Pillai said in New Delhi.
Underwater weapon-delivery platforms are considered to be the most potent second strike capability of countries' defence strength.
India has developed significant underwater weapon delivery platforms in the recent past including an indigenously-built nuclear submarine INS Arihant and successfully test-fired the nuclear capable 700km range K-15 Shaurya missile.
The Navy is also expecting to get a Russian-made Akula-II class 'Nerpa' nuclear submarine on lease soon.
The test-firing of the BrahMos underwater missile would be done from a pontoon at Integrated Test Range in Balasore on Orissa coast from a DRDO facility.
The same pontoon was used for carrying out the test-firing of the 700-km range K-15 'Shaurya' submarine launched ballistic missile a couple of years ago.
A ring will have to be fitted in the existing pontoon for fitting-in the BrahMos which has a relatively smaller diameter than the K-15 SLBM.
The under-water cruise missile will have the same capabilities as its earlier variants and would be able to strike at both land and sea-based targets. BrahMos has been developed jointly by India and Russia and inducted in the Army and the Navy.
The two countries have also signed an agreement for developing the hypersonic version of the missile which currently flies at a speed of 2.8 mach.
India is also planning to deploy BrahMos on the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) being developed with Russia.
"If we are able to reduce the weight of the missile below two tonnes, we can deploy it on the FGFA and we are looking to do that in future," Pillai
FGFA is joint venture aircraft development programme between India and Russia under which India will induct 250-300 of these advanced planes.
The missile is already being developed for deployment on Su-30MKIs of the Indian Air Force.
Asked if the missile could be put on other aircraft such as the LCA or the proposed Medium-Multirole Combat Aircraft (M-MRCA), Pillai said it would not be possible for the LCA as it was a small aircraft.
Pillai said the three Services have placed orders worth $4 billion with BrahMos including the orders for the land version of cruise missile by the Indian Air Force.
The BrahMos chief denied there were disputes between India and Russia over the modifications being carried out in the Su-30MKIs being upgraded to fire-from-the-air version of the missile.
"The trials of launching BrahMos cruise missile from air will begin in 2012 and there will be no delay in the programme due to this," he added.