India’s DRDO Conducts Test Firing of Nirbhay Long-Range Subsonic Cruise Missile

India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) conducted a test firing of the Nirbhay long range subsonic cruise missile from a test range in Odisha, on April 15.

The missile was launched from Launch Complex-3 of the Chandipur Integrated Test Range (ITR) at 11:44 am.

It is the sixth development flight trial with objective to prove the repeatability of boost phase, cruise phase using way point navigation at very low altitudes. The missile took off vertically turning horizontally into desired direction, booster separated, wing deployed, engine started, cruised all the intended waypoints. The missile demonstrated its sea-skimming capability to cruise at very low altitudes. During the test flight, the missile covered the designated target range in 42 minutes and 23 seconds.

The entire flight was fully tracked by a chain of Electro Optical Tracking Systems, Radars and Ground Telemetry Systems deployed all along the sea coast.

The last successful trial of the cruise missile was conducted on November 7, 2017.


Nirbhay is India’s first indigenously designed and developed long-range subsonic cruise missile, developed by DRDO’s Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE). It is is similar to the American Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM).

The missile has a diameter of 0.52 metres, wing span of 2.7 metres and weight of around 1,500 kg. It is a six-metre long, two-stage, missile with a range of around 1,000 km.

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.

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.

Nirbhay cruise missile
File picture of a Nirbhay cruise missile taking off from the mobile launcher.
Nirbhay cruise missile
Nirbhay missile during its cruise phase, powered by turbofan engine.

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