Nirbhay cruise missile
|Type||Long-range, all-weather, subsonic cruise missile|
|Place of origin||India|
|Used by||Indian Navy
Indian Air Force
|Produced||Expected in 2016|
2.84 mwarhead=conventional or thermonuclear
|1,000 -1500 km|
Nirbhay is India's first two stage, all-weather, low-cost, long-range cruise missile capable of carrying conventional and nuclear war heads. The missile has a range of more than 1000 km, weighs about 1500 kg and has a length of 6 metres. The missile is powered by a solid rocket booster for take off which is developed by Advanced Systems Laboratory(ASL). Upon reaching the required velocity and height, Turbofanengine in the missile takes over for further propulsion. The missile is guided by a highly advanced inertial navigation system indigenously developed by Research Centre Imarat(RCI) and a radio altimeter for the height determination. The missile can carry warheads ranging between 300 kg and 400 kg and a total of 24 types of warheads can be attached based on mission requirements. It can be launched from multiple platforms including aircraft, land-based vehicles/launchers, ships and submarines and shall be inducted into Indian Navy, Army, and Air Force.
A DRDO official told The Hindu that the two-stage missile Nirbhay is able to pick out a target and attack it among multiple targets. The missile has a loitering capability, i.e., it can go round a target and perform several manoeuvres and then re-engage it. With two side wings, the missile is capable of flying at different altitudes ranging from 500 m to 4 km above the ground and can also fly at low altitudes (like low tree level) to avoid detection by enemy radar. It is capable of delivering 24 different types of warheads depending on mission requirements and uses an inertial navigation system for guidance. The missile supplements Brahmos by delivering warheads farther than the 290 km range of Brahmos.
Development and trials
The missile was developed by the Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL), Hyderabad, a lab of Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE). ADE is a division of DRDO. After the design was finalized, the technology required for the missile was developed. It was integrated by R&D Engineers, Pune, a specialized arm of DRDO. Indian private sector giant Tata has built the vehicle that is the carrier/launcher for the Nirbhay system and is based on an "indigenous high mobility, all-terrain and all-wheel drive Tata LPTA 5252-12 X12 vehicle", developed in partnership with DRDO.
The first test flight of the missile was planned in October 2012, but the launch was postponed to December owing to the changes being made to the launcher. V.K. Saraswat, director general of DRDO, later said that the missile would be tested in February 2013. He said the delay was due to development of some processes. DRDO expected the missile to be ready for induction within 12 to 18 months after the February test.
The surface version of Nirbhay missile was test fired for the first time on 12 March 2013 from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur in Balasore district of Odisha. The missile in its maiden flight was supposed to hit a static target situated 1000 km away in the Bay of Bengal. Missile took off from the launch pad successfully and reached the second stage of propulsion, travelling 15 minutes through its envisaged path at a speed of 0.7 mach. After that it veered away from its trajectory forcing the command center to detach the engine from the missile mid way into the flight. This was done to avoid the risk of the missile hitting the coastal areas . The missile was purposely destroyed in mid-flight.
DRDO claimed the test was a partial success as the missile took off, reached the second stage of propulsion, and traveled 30% of its range before deviating from its path . Most of the mission objectives were claimed to have been completed .Reportedly,DRDO has detected the problem which was a faulty inertial navigation system,& corrected the same. The subsequent test of the missile was to be carried out in May 2014. DRDO expected the missile to enter into production after the year 2014, after few more trials against both static and moving targets. Test of submarine launched and air launched versions to be followed in due course of time.
A second launch of the Nirbhay missile was scheduled for February–May 2014 but it was further delayed until October 2014. Slight delay in October was also due to cyclone Hudhud. On 17 October 2014, the surface version of the missile was tested once again from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur in Balasore district of Odisha, and this time the test was successful. The missile test met all the parameters & completed all 15 way-points. The missile travelled for more than 1000 km that lasted for a duration of over 1 hour and 10 minutes. The missile was tracked with the help of ground based radars and its health parameters were monitored by telemetry stations from DRDO's ITR and LRDE (Electronics & Radar Development Establishment). Indian Air force fighter jet Jaguar chased the missile during its flight to capture the video of the flight. Four versions of Nirbhay land,ship,air and submarine would be developed and the first land attack cruise missile would be delivered in less than three years.
The third test of the missile took place on 16 October 2015. The missile was to be tested for its low flying capability. The missile in flight was supposed to be brought down from 4800 meters to 20 meters gradually and in stages. Su-30 MKI aircraft videotaped the flight. A press release by the Ministry of Defence stated the missile was launched at 11:38 IST and all initial critical operations such as Booster ignition, Booster separation, Wing deployment and engine start were successfully executed and Nirbhay reached the desired Cruise Altitude. Although the take off was successful after repeated disruptions of countdown, the missile crashed into the Bay of Bengal 11 minutes into its flight after covering only 128 km of its 1000 km range.
Test from Arihant
Another test of the missile took place in October 2015, from the nuclear submarine Arihant.
- India and weapons of mass destruction
- Missiles of the same class
- Nirbhay integration into Su-30MKI
- Liquid fuel Ramjet technology
- India to launch sub-sonic missile next month
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