Balasore: India on Monday successfully conducted flight trial of the nuclear-capable Nirbhay cruise missile, the country’s first indigenously designed and developed long-range cruise missile, from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur in Odisha’s Balasore district.
The missile was test-fired from launch pad no-III at 11.55 am in presence of senior scientists of the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO).
The Nirbhay is a subsonic long-range land attack cruise missile that can be armed with a 300-kilogram warhead. The nuclear-capable, solid fuel, missile is capable of reaching speeds of 0.6-0.7 Mach and can strike land targets at a distance of up to 1,000 kilometres.
While the Nirbhay missiles for the first four trials were powered by the Russian-made NPO Saturn 36MT mini turbofan engines, the missile prototype launched on Monday has the indigenously designed and developed Manik turbofan engine.
The last successful test launch of the missile took place at the Integrated Test Range on Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha in November 2017. A previous test launch in December 2016 had ended in failure as the missile had to be destroyed in mid-air after it deviated from its course.
Two other test launches also ended in failure, with only one other flight trial, conducted in October 2014, declared a success. DRDO engineers have pointed to problems with the flight control software and navigation system of the Nirbhay, as well as hardware design flaws, for the causes of the failed missile tests. Without offering any details, the Diplomat had quoted ADE officials saying that past issues related to the missile’s control hardware and software have apparently now been fixed.