Going to the French for Brahmos guidance?!!!

An extraordinary development has come to my notice: French electronics/avionics companies, possibly Safran [not Thales], has been approached by some Indian government agency for the guidance system for the supersonic Brahmos cruise missile. This is perfectly ridiculous, considering the Block 3 version of this missile has an indigenously-produced guidance system that enables it to execute a “slashing attack” angled on to the sides of large surface combatants that simply cannot be defended. Three of these missiles, each with with 1,000kg chemical high explosive warhead, can sink a Nimitz-class CVN. The Blk 2 variant of the Brahmos (equipping two artillery regiments deployed against China) can be fired vertically over the Himalayan mountains which then hurtles down vertically before leveling out for the final kill-run to target. With Indian software permitting such maneuvers in Blk 2 and Blk 3 Brahmos, what the hell can the French teach us, leave alone better us in the guidance software sphere? In fact, no French missile has anything remotely comparable.

Now consider what the ramifications of going to the French with the Brahmos are: It will be construed as breach of contract by the Russian company NPO Machinostroeyenia because it will open up design specifications of the missile to France (and then the rest of the West). This is bad because Russia has decided to field the Brahmos as well (which means more custom for the JV, the Brahmos Aerospace company). It will also immediately imperil the transactions to (1) obtain for immediate use the Kashalot SSN and the Iribis — 40% complete, as the third Akula nuclear-powered hunter-killer submarine, (2) finalise the collaborative agreement for the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft, (3) the Su-30 and MiG-29 upgrade programmes, (4) the underway improved spares and servicing support/supply chain for all Russian-sourced military hardware with all three armed services, and (5) sensitive, high-technology, cooperation.

The thought arises that this development, assuming the Indian government is foolish enough to go through with it, could not be better designed to sever the Indian military’s Russian connection. This is something China has been pressuring Moscow on, especially re: FGFA. There are lots of damnfool things the Indian government has done and is embarked on doing, but this takes the cake! While all those wishing to diminish India’s Russian connection will be gleeful, the nationalists in the country concerned about the national interest and this nation’s security now have good reason to tremble at how India is going deeper and deeper into hock of Western countries with no counterbalancing moves in sight. Hope to God this is just one of those rumours that do the rounds in Delhi, and is without any real substance.

About Bharat Karnad

Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, he was Member of the (1st) National Security Advisory Board and the Nuclear Doctrine-drafting Group, and author, among other books of, 'Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy', 'India's Nuclear Policy' and most recently, 'Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)'. Educated at the University of California (undergrad and grad), he was Visiting Scholar at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, and Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, DC.
This entry was posted in arms exports, Asian geopolitics, China, China military, Defence Industry, domestic politics, DRDO, Europe, Geopolitics, Great Power imperatives, India's strategic thinking and policy, Indian Air Force, Indian Army, Indian Navy, Military Acquisitions, Missiles, Relations with Russia, Russia, russian assistance, russian military, South Asia, Strategic Relations with the US & West, Technology transfer, United States, US., Weapons, Western militaries. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Going to the French for Brahmos guidance?!!!

  1. Atul says:

    This may help a bit to understand the issue. EW is a major issue in future wars.

    • Ben says:

      BrahMos has been tested successfully multiple times, from land and sea based platforms. Are you trying to suggest, that among ALL the tests carried out, not one of them had the parameters set up to test the vulnerabilities/robutness of SatNav?

      • Atul says:

        Its not SatNav, its the INS. Future is into multiple seekers so more the merrier. INS is important for a GPS denied environment and EW scenario. Sagem’s INS is used in most of IAF fighters and other aircraft, hence, its a better form to achieve inter-operability as well. Moreover, if Russians had any objection, they would not hesitate in informing India. They themselves are looking for French systems. Remember, the Russian purchase of Mistral LHD was only agreed when French agreed to provide the Senit-9 CMS and SIC-21 CIS.

  2. !@#$%^&*()_+ says:

    Without SENIT-9 a mistral is a fishing trawler. Why would anybody buy a Mistral without the ability to know where and how to use the goddamned fishing trawler.

    @Karnad, but what if this is not about Brahmos? After all an INS goes into many more places. And as you rightly point out Brahmos does not need a french INS? And what if the french INS makes sense only if supplied to Brahmos? 😀

    Modi has to go meet Putin in some time. We can be sure that if the Russians are against this then its not going to happen.

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