Nuclear capable Cruise Missile Nirbhay tested successfully
India successfully tested Nirbhay, India’s first indigenously designed and developed long range sub-sonic cruise missile. The missile was fired from the Integrated Test Range at Balasore, Odisha. Nirbhay maintained an accuracy better than 10 m throughout its path and covered a distance of more than 1000 km.
Indigenously developed missile
Nirbhay is made wholly of parts indigenously developed in India. It is powered by a solid rocket motor booster developed by the Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL) and the launch was from a mobile launcher specifically designed for Nirbhay by the Vehicles R&D Establishment (VRDE). The missile was guided by a highly advanced inertial navigation system developed by Research Centre Imarat (RCI). The missile was tracked with the help of ground based radars, and the missile was monitored through telemetry stations by a team from DRDO and LRDE (Electronics & Radar Development Establishment).
Prior launch attempt
This was the second launch of Nirbhay. The maiden launch in March 2013 was a partial success achieving most of the mission objectives, but it had to be terminated for safety reasons due to malfunction of a component, after deviation from intended path was observed.
The 6 m tall, low altitude flying missile can evade detection by radars by flying at tree top level. I can strike targets that are more than 700 km away also and is capable of carrying nuclear warheads. It can also hover over targets, unlike other missile. It also has a fire and forget system which cannot be jammed by the enemy. Nirbhay fills a vital gap in India’s arsenal and is considered to be India’s answer to USA’s Tomahawk and Pakistan’s Babur missiles.
Nirbhay blasts off like a rocket, but then unlike a missile, it turns into an aircraft. Unlike other ballistic missiles like the Agni, it has wings and pronounced tail fins. After the launch, mid-flight, the rocket motor falls off and the small wings get deployed. At this juncture, a gas turbine engine kicks in and the missile’s conversion into a full aircraft is complete.