Hello defence lovers! On 9th March 2022, amidst the Russia-Ukraine war strange yet surprising news came from our very own country. India had accidentally fired a Brahmos missile from Ambala which landed in Mian Chanu in Pakistan. Pakistan reported this event on 10th March and the Ministry of defence of India confirmed it another 24 hours later and said it was due to a technical malfunction during routine maintenance. In this article, we are going to discuss some unanswered aspects of this entire event.
A Manoeuvring Misfired Missile?
According to Pakistan’s DG ISPR, the BrahMos travelled 124 kilometres deep into Pakistan’s territory and landed in Mian Chanu. According to it, the missile took 3 minutes and 44 seconds to cover 124 kilometres. Moreover, the missile followed a manoeuvering trajectory. How on earth is it possible for a misfired missile to follow a manoeuvring trajectory unless the coordinates of its targets are not loaded into its mission computer? It is very hard to believe that the missile had its target coordinates but wasn’t armed with a warhead. Moreover, it accurately homed into an empty place and there was no casualty at all. All these events cannot be a coincidence.
Was It Really A BrahMos?
It is not yet confirmed from either of the governments whether the missile fired was actually a Brahmos. According to Pakistan “a supersonic” missile flew 124 kilometres over its territory for 3 minutes and 44 seconds. Thus from calculating the average velocity of the missile we can conclude that it was travelling at a velocity of Mach 1.61 which makes it too slow for it to be a Brahmos. BrahMos, unlike all other cruise missiles, covers most of its trajectory with a supersonic speed close to its terminal velocity (according to data in the public domain it is Mach 4). Once the missile is launched, it accelerates with help of its solid booster until it reaches supersonic speed to start its ramjet engine. Pakistan claimed it flew 120 kilometres in Indian airspace which gives the missile sufficient time to reach its cruising speed. Although the basic assumption is that what Pakistan is claiming is accurate. However, we know how accurate their counting is from our experience of the Balakot airstrikes.
Unusually Long Response Time?
We must keep in mind that both India and Pakistan are nuclear-armed states. There has been no event in the past where one nuclear-armed country launched a supersonic missile on its rival nuclear-armed country and that too by mistake. India and Pakistan both have hotline communication to deal with any unusual situations which could lead to nuclear escalation. When India conducted surgical strikes in PoK in 2016, immediately after completion of the operation, India declared it publicly in a press conference. We saw a similar modus operandi again in the 2019 Balakot airstrikes. Pakistan also responded almost immediately and said it had shot down “two Indian fighters” and “two fighter pilots” in their custody. The mystery of the second pilot is unsolved even today. However this time it took Pakistan 24 hours to respond to such a sensitive issue. Moreover, the Indian government took 48 hours to respond. The response time for such a sensitive event which could have led to further escalation is unusually too long and that makes the event fishy.
Testing Pakistan’s Air Defence Systems
According to Pakistan’s DG ISPR, Pakistan constantly tracked the missile during its entire flight path. However when it was known the flying object was hostile and it could have targeted any significant military installation anywhere upon its entire flight path, the reason for not neutralizing is unclear. There are two possibilities. The first one is that by divine intervention, the air defence units knew the missile was unarmed, was fired accidentally, it’s not going to target any military target and would safely crash into Mian Chanu. The second possibility is that Pakistan’s so-called state of the art air defence system like HQ 9 and HQ 16 was unable of shooting down the BrahMos. All that Pakistani air defence could do to wait and watch where the missile hits. Obviously, the second possibility makes much more sense. By this so-called accidental firing, Pakistan’s vulnerabilities have been exposed and Pakistan has one more reason to fear India’s missile arsenal.
A Silent Message
Amidst a situation where the world is focusing on the Russia Ukraine war, experts have cautioned China can pursue similar attempts in Ladakh and Taiwan. This little accident has shown our beloved and overly friendly neighbours that their so-called state of the art air defence systems is not impenetrable. A glimpse of what a barrage of deadly accurate Brahmos can do has already been shown to them. Moreover, there is a political crisis in Pakistan’s pseudo democracy as the Pakistani Army and ISI are losing confidence in our beloved Imran Khan due to his exemplary performance in destroying Pakistan’s economy. In such a scenario Kashmir and hostility with India have time and again proven to be good distractions for Pakistani people. This little BrahMos accident can be treated as a warning shot from the Indian side.