Military & Aerospace

Brahmos on Su30MKI – Towards an Indian CPRS Capability
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 24 Nov , 2017

With the unique demonstration by test-firing Brahmos from Su30MKI aircraft, India has started its unique baby steps towards indicating what I called Conventional Prompt Regional Strike (CPRS) Capability. Can IAF consider these and perhaps other options for creating a system for conventional prompt regional strike (CPRS)? Even to contemplate this shift, IAF and DRDO will have to work together – can they work to build a new type of force? These were the questions in my 2015 article IAF in the age of Unmanned, Hyper-sonic, Intelligent, Stealthy, and CPGS world.

Conventional Prompt Global Strike (CPGS) – The US Conceptualization

I noted in my article, “The CPGS is an unprecedented capability. As envisaged and being developed through integration of “extreme” limits of technologies – a vision that will give the sole superpower capability beyond anything any adversary can deploy in near future.” Since early 2000, USA has been developing the Conventional Prompt Global Strike (CPGS) capability. Note the conventional and prompt adjectives along with global in the acronym CGPS. Further, Conventional Prompt Global Strike (CPGS) augmenting the nuclear armed Ballistic missiles is in-fact a “usable” option as compared to “just threat” but “non-usable” option of nukes. The problem of course was when these missiles or manifested capabilities are in flight – how to let the adversary know that the missile that it is about to be hit by and visible on its satellite signals receiving stations, is carrying a conventional warhead and not a nuke? By increasing the speeds to hypersonic levels, the reaction time for adversary can be made close to zero. Thus, hypersonic weapons are already seeing an unprecedented arms race – the Mach 5 Arms Race.

In nutshell, CPGS is a capability for US Armed forces to hit targets across the world within an hour. This will allow US to attack key targets at the start of or during a conflict. For example, key decision makers before they can take shelter and prolong an impending war.

Conventional Prompt Regional Strike (CPRS) – initiated by Brahmos on Su30

India should work towards a Conventional Prompt Regional Strike (CPRS) capability. US has many options for CPGS such as land based ballistic missiles, submarine launched ballistic missiles, submarine launched intermediate range Ballistic missiles, Long range bombers, Tomahawk Cruise Missiles, Hypersonic cruise missiles, Scramjet technologies, and Forward based Global strike forces.

Brahmos test-firing from Su30 with supersonic speed of the missile gives us an unprecedented capability to hit quickly at specific large-enough and even hardened targets at a distance with sufficient accuracy and lethality to destroy the target using only conventional warhead. Brahmos II with a potential range extension and also a potential hypersonic future version should enhance this capability.

India should strategically take-up to evaluate alternative structures for Indian Armed forces in general to achieve a Conventional Precision Strike capability at least in the regional scenario of say 5000 Km from the borders of India. The evaluation should focus on defining and developing means and mechanisms to deliver conventional strike in a prompt manner.

Why India should develop CPRS capability?

There are specific reasons for India to develop this capability with high priority

•  US CPGS capability development has already seen a march towards conventionally armed hypersonic missiles/weapons – with China and Russia also aggressively developing hypersonic and counter hypersonic capabilities – for example, S-500, the Russian air defence system under development will have anti-hypersonic capability

•  Conventional Hypersonic Weapons due to their prompt first strike capability with precision, in fact, will lead to major crisis instability in nuclear deterrence stability scenarios.

•  There are already talks about Hypersonic Weapons Control regime emerging between the “hypersonic” haves – US, China, Russia and perhaps other powers.

•  Given the past – missiles and nukes proliferation, it is just a matter of time when these capabilities reach our western neighbor. It will be more prudent for India to have this ability for overall stability of the region

•  The deterrence value of Bramhmos on Su30 – for conducting “quick surgical strikes” within few hours of any cross-border terror attack on India is a much stronger deterrence in the Hybrid war unleashed on India.

The CPRS system should be the strategic goal for India. Whether it should be based solely on Brahmos need to be evaluated in details. In the light of the rapid technological changes taking place and changing nature of arms capabilities, India not only need to develop conventional capabilities but also need to develop unique capabilities – as demonstrated in the Brahmos firing Su30 aircraft. However, we need to poll the future deeper to construct capabilities that will secure us from increasingly complex threats in the form of emerging military technological systems and operational capabilities.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Navneet Bhushan

worked as a Defence Scientist from 1990-2000. He is the founder director of CRAFITTI CONSULTING ( – an Innovation and Intellectual Property Consulting firm focused on co-crafting Innovation in global enterprises. He is the winner of Indira India Innovation award for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Leadership for 2012. He is the principal author of Strategic Decision Making- Applying the Analytic Hierarchy Process published by Springer-Verlag, UK, as part of the Decision Engineering Series. Navneet Blogs at He can be contacted at He is currently working on his next book titled Crafting New Choices.

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3 thoughts on “Brahmos on Su30MKI – Towards an Indian CPRS Capability

  1. I think – Brahmos armed Su30MKI gives specific capabilities that ground based Brahmos doesnt. (1) Flexibility to redeploy across 360 degrees around India quickly. In the so called 2 front or 2.5 front war that India is potentially facing, this flexibility is tremendous force multiplier (2) Conventional Prompt Strike (as I explained in my article above) with an emphasis on “prompt” within hours strike. Existing ground based cruise missiles will need to be moved if the potential target is not within its per-designated deployment position. (3) Keeping the element of “Surprise” – it is essential in modern warfare to continuously keep the element of surprise at all levels and all times.Brahmos+Su30MKI gives that element.

    Bottom line is its a unique capability with IAF and India. The way this capability has to be combined in the existing capabilities and doctrines – Strategic, Operational or even Tactical – is upto the forces to develop. I am seeing it as an innovation and a potential element towards what I call Conventional Prompt Regional Strike (CPRS) – a against the US, Russian or Chinese Hyper-sonic Conventional Prompt Global Strike (CPGS) capability. CPRS should provide us to strike conventionally within specific distance from Indian borders – say 2000 or say 5000 KMs. Brahmos – as it develops into its many variants will be wonderful capability.

  2. The Brahmos has been designed to operate from the ground. All along it was reported that it hit the nominated target. It is also said that it cannot be intercepted by another missile. The Fighter plane has been used only to increase the range and not to increase the accuracy.
    That means there will be every possibility the fighter plane will be hit by enemy ground fire. while coming .down A fighter plane cannot escape from enemy radar before reaching the target. Whereas a cruise missile can fly 5 meters above ground level. The using a cruise missile is it can fly below the detection range of enemy radars. So by using a fighter plane, we are losing these vital advantages of a cruise missile. The Americans used Tomahawk missiles in Syria to escape from S 400 missile radars. IAF venture is foolish. So far as my knowledge it is very difficult to intercept missiles.Flying very low from the ground.

  3. Perhaps I am the only person not appreciated this venture because I have the special capabilities to find out right or wrong. …….. Kindly read the article given below. :-
    Indian Scientist have already increased the range from 290 to 450 Km
    This new range of Brahmos missile is sufficient to destroy Pakistan army and PAF and Chinese insulations without the using of a fighter plane.
    Amritsar to Islamabad 287 Km – Amritsar to Sargodha well-protected Airfield 214 Km, Amritsar to Kharian largest Pakistan Army Cantt 161 Km
    Yonphula Airport) in Bhutan to Lasha 269 Km -Yingkiong Helipad to Nagqu -Tibet, 426Km.
    From the above, we can see that the IAF need not use any fighter planes.
    The reaction time of fighter plane is more than a missile launch from Silos. It will take a minimum five minutes for a plane to be airborne. It is all ways safe to keep and launch missiles from Silo from the border. Hundreds of missiles can be launched from silos within a minute.The airport will be far away from the border considering the safety. That means a missile launch from the Silos will reach the destination using fighter planes. Recently the Americans used Tomahawk missile to bomb Syrien Airfield. They did not use their best fighter planes F 22 or F35 stealth planes. I do not think any IAF officers tried to find out the reason.why did the Americans prefered missiles rather than fighter plane? They used 58 Tomahawk missile. The reason is that Russian has got S 400 missiles. So it was not safe to use any fighter planes when enemies got missiles. Similarly, Pakistan has purchased 500 BVR range missiles from the USA to counter SU30 Mki fighter planes. and AWACs. The BVR range is 105km. This one is the best BVR missiles in the world. The BVR range missile India got has 70 to 100 Km. So one should understand how dangerous India uses SU30 Mki carrying Brahmos.

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