India is planning to conduct the fifth trial of its indigenously developed Nirbhay long-range subsonic cruise missile at the Chandipur Integrated Test Range (ITR) off Odisha coast, this week.
The test, fifth in the last five years, will be conducted by the missile’s developer, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
According to an official, the missile is launch ready and the launch window has been set for Nov. 7 to 9. But the official added that the launch will likely take place on Nov. 7.
The launch will be a fresh experimental trial as the past two trials of the missile were a failure. Nirbhay’s last trial conducted on Dec. 21 last year was aborted midway as the missile changed its course.
The past failures were attributed to wing deployment and navigation software problems but DRDO scientists are expecting a success this time.
This time, the missile will be tested with a turbojet engine in place of turbofan engine used in previous tests.
Nirbhay is a six-metre long, two-stage, long-range subsonic missile with a range of around 1,000 km. The missile has a diameter of 0.52 metres, wing span of 2.7 metres and weight of around 1,500 kg.
The missile can carry a 200 kg warhead, both conventional and nuclear, and can cruise at a speed of Mach 0.8. It is capable of flying at tree-top level making it difficult to be detected by enemy radars.
The missile is similar to the American Tomahawk land attack missile and is developed by DRDO’s Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE).
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, turbofan/ turbojet engine in the missile takes over for further propulsion.