India conducts flight trial of Nirbhay subsonic cruise missile

India has conducted a successful flight trial of its first indigenously designed and developed long-range subsonic cruise missile, Nirbhay.

The test launch was conducted from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Chandipur, Odisha by the missile’s developer, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

According to the statement from DRDO, the flight test achieved all the mission objectives completely from lift-off till the final splash, boosting the confidence of all scientists associated with the trial.

The missile has the capability to loiter and cruise at 0.7 Mach, at altitudes as low as 100 m and can be deployed from multiple platforms.

The missile took-off in the programmed manner and all critical operations viz. launch phase, booster deployment, engine start, wing deployment and other operational parameters demonstrated through autonomous way point navigation.

The guidance, control and navigation system of the missile is configured around the indigenously designed Ring Laser Gyroscope (RLG) and MEMS based Inertial Navigation System (INS) along with GPS system. The missile cruised for a total time duration of 50 minutes, achieving the range of 647 km.

The missile was tracked with the help of ground based radars and other parameters were monitored by indigenous telemetry stations developed by DRDO.

The launch was 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 was 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, developed by DRDO’s  Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), is similar to the American Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM).

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.

Indian Ministry of Defence



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