The missile test will "significantly bolster" the Air Force's air combat operations capability from stand-off ranges, the MoD said.
The Brahmos is said to be supersonic, unlike the US-made Tomahawk that is also a cruise missile but is sub-sonic. After release, the missile free falls for 100-150 meters, then goes into a cruise phase at 14,000 meters and finally the terminal phase at 15 meters.
The Su-30MKI, considered the most potent fighter jet with India, was the choice for fitting the Brahmos missile having an airframe of titanium and high-strength aluminium alloys, fit for a high-speed terrain following profile. The jet was modified to carry a weapon by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. The missile had a range of 290 km initially, which was increased to 450 km this year after India became a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
The BrahMos cruise missile travels at a speed almost three times that of sound at Mach 2.8, while the fighter jet has a cruising range of 3,000 kilometres and their combination could prove lethal for defence targets. "Delighted on the successful maiden test firing of Brahmos air-launched cruise missile from Su-30MKI". Unlike a ballistic missile that mostly flies straight from the launch to the target, a cruise missile can be guided.
The BrahMos missile is a joint Indian-Russian project, and named after the Brahmaputra and Moskva rivers in the two countries.
On this occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday congratulated the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) team and Indian Air Force. With the land and warship missiles already having been inducted into the armed forces, this completes the tactical cruise missile triad for India.
"Dr S. Christopher, chairperson, DRDO and secretary, department of defence R&D congratulated the scientists and engineers for this excellent text book kind of flight test", an official communication said.