Indigenously designed, the subsonic cruise missile Nirbhay has been successfully tested for critical operations such as blast off.
India has conducted a flight test of its indigenously designed long range sub-sonic cruise missile ‘Nirbhay’. The missile that can carry warheads of up to 300 kgs, was tested in an experiment for a fifth time.
A state-of-the-art sleek cruise missile, Nirbhay took off from a specially designed launcher from the launch complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, near Balasor in Odisha (eastern India), the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) sources said.
As per a DRDO scientist, all initial critical operations of the trial such as blast of the sophisticated missile were successful as it moved up in its trajectory. The data is being retrieved from tracking systems for a detailed assessment, he said.
Developed by the Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL), Nirbhay is powered by a solid rocket motor booster and has an operational range of 1000 km. It can travel with a turbofan or turbojet engine and is guided by a highly advanced inertial navigation system indigenously developed by the Research Centre Imarat (RCI), the DRDO sources told the Indian press.
After the missile reaches a designated altitude and velocity, its booster motor is separated and the engine automatically switches on to take further propulsion. While in flight, the missile’s wings open mid way by the commands generated from the sophisticated on-board computer.
All along its trajectories, the missile is tracked with the help of ground based radars and IAF aircraft.
Indigenous telemetry stations and a team of professionals from DRDO’s ITR and LRDE (Electronics and Radar Development Establishment) are monitoring the health parameters of the vehicle.
A two stage missile, Nirbhay is six metre long, 0.25 metre wide, and has a wing span of 2.7 metre. It can carry a warhead of 200 kgs to 300 kgs at a speed of 0.6 to 0.7 Mach. Its launch weight is about 1500 kgs, the sources said.
At this stage and experimentation stage, the scientists hoped the missile would deliver the desired results. “After a thorough review some changes have been incorporated in the missile system and we hope it will deliver the desired result,” Indian media quoted a scientist.
Nirbhay took its maiden flight on March 12, 2013 but to be terminated midway due to malfunction of a component. Its second launch on October 17, 2014 was successful one.
On October 16, 2015, during its third trial the missile deviated from its path after covering 128 kms. The flight on December 21, 2016 had to be called off after 700 seconds into testing as it deviated from its designated path. All these trials were conducted from the same base at Chandipur ITR.