Probe into the Accidental Firing of Brahmos Missile

    Brahmos Missile

    According to Defence sources, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has concluded an investigation into the March 9 accidental missile-firing incident that resulted in a missile landing within Pakistani territory, and it will be submitted to the government after an internal assessment, as per the process.

    In a related move, the Philippines has formally established a Shore Based Anti-Ship Missile (SBASM) battalion that will induct the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile system from India next year.

    The Court of Inquiry (CoI) conclusions have been given to a lawyer for review, after which they will be presented to the government,” a defense official said on condition of anonymity. Another official explained that legal screening is one of the numerous administrative phases in the process, which takes a few weeks to complete.

    At least two officials said the disaster appeared to be caused by a human error rather than a technical flaw with the missile system, and that the CoI would confirm the exact nature of the incident.

    Security Measures to Restrict such Accidents

    Several officials familiar with the missile system indicated that the high-end missile system was developed with several checks and balances, ruling out the chance of a technical flaw.

    “There are a succession of software locks that are authorised at various levels, followed by two manual keys before the countdown can begin,” one of the officials said on condition of anonymity. Another official stated that the system has a significant amount of redundancy built-in.

    The IAF formed a Committee of Inquiry (CoI) led by an Air Vice Marshal, a two-star officer, to investigate the incident on March 9, which Pakistani military officials described as a supersonic surface-to-surface missile traveling at three times the speed of sound at 40,000 feet.

    Brahmos to Philippines-

    The Philippines and BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited signed a $374.96 million deal in January for the supply of three batteries of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles’ Shore Based Anti-Ship variant, as well as training for operators and maintainers and the necessary “integrated logistics support” package. On March 15, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh told Parliament that a missile had been “accidentally launched” at around 7 p.m. during “regular maintenance and inspection,” and that the rocket had landed inside Pakistani territory. He also stated that the standard operating procedures (SOP) for “operations, maintenance, and inspections” were being reviewed.

    Mr. Singh had stated that the missile in question was “extremely reliable and safe” without elaborating. It was, however, a BrahMos missile, according to defense sources.

    The Indian envoy to the Philippines, Shambhu Kumaran, reaffirmed this position in response to a query during a webinar last week, saying that he had spoken with the Philippines’ Defense Secretary, Delfin Lorenzana. “I wouldn’t call it a cause for concern.” There was a question, and we responded that, as far as we could tell, there was no technical problem. Mr. Kumaran stated, “There is an investigation underway, and we will have it cleared up soon the information is ready.”

    “This is a frontline system in the Indian defense forces, and the fact that we are prepared to share it was appreciated by the Philippines,” Mr. Kumaran said, adding that there is “certainly a degree of confidence in the system because of the fact that India utilizes it extensively.”

    The missile is named after the Brahmaputra and Moskva rivers and is a collaborative initiative between India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyeniya.

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