In April 2015, the Indian Army mysteriously withdrew a press statement made just hours before announcing that it had successfully conducted an island launch of the BrahMos Block III supersonic cruise missile from India’s island territories, the Andaman & Nicobar. Neither the Army nor BrahMos Corp. offered an explanation for why the detailed statement, accompanied by photographs of the April launch, was withdrawn. Was the test a failure? The mystery quietly dissipated, but now stands solved. First, take a look at the video above. The April 2015 test did in fact take place, and was precisely how the Army announced it. In fact, the Army conducted two more identical tests a month later in May 2015. Livefist chanced upon never-before-seen footage of these two latter tests in BrahMos Corp’s 2017 official film displayed at the recent Aero India show, and subsequently shared in original form with your correspondent. Our map of the launch from 2015 depicts precisely how the land-to-land launch played out.
Top sources confirm that while the series of tests was fully successful, the reason the statement was withdrawn was that the tests weren’t meant to be announced publicly — certainly not as ‘extended range’ tests (BrahMos Corp recently conducted the first extended range test following India becoming signatory to the MTCR). The distance between Car Nicobar and Trak Island is well within the BrahMos Block III’s 290-km range, so the test actually wasn’t at any ‘extended range’. The other reason why the Army changed its mind about the test was environmental sensitivities that have prevailed over the use of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands for weapons tests. The use of the uninhabited Trak Island (really an atoll) for the test wouldn’t have gone down well with environmentalists (and perhaps departments within the government itself), even though a designated group of islands in the chain have been approved for such target tests.
The tests proved wholly successful though. And the footage you see here on Livefist for the first time confirms that the island strike tests went through without a hitch.