New Delhi: India’s 1,000 km strike range sub-sonic cruise missile Nirbhay was successfully test fired off the Odisha coast on Monday.
With this, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) managed the final developmental flight trial of the nuclear-capable cruise missile, also the country’s first indigenously designed and developed long-range cruise missile.
The last successful test launch of the missile had taken place in November 2017. An earlier test launch in December 2016 had ended in failure as the missile had to be destroyed in mid-air after it deviated from its course.
Two other test launches had also ended in failure, with only one other flight trial in 2014 a success. DRDO engineers had attributed the failure to problems with the flight control software and navigation system of the missile, as well as hardware design flaws. All those issues had since been resolved.
Nirbhay is a subsonic long-range land attack cruise missile that can be armed with a 300-kilogram warhead. The nuclear-capable, solid fuel missile is capable of reaching speeds of 0.6-0.7 Mach and can strike land targets at a distance of up to 1,000 kilometers, say reports.
Reportedly, the Ministry of Defence had even considered axing the programme on multiple occasions over technical issues with the weapon system, funding difficulties, and questions over the operational need for such a missile.
However, Jane’s Defence Weekly had reported way back in February that the programme was on track. It had quoted a DRDO official as saying, “Once the technology behind the missile is certified, there is a proposal to develop an air-launched variant of the Nirbhay within two to three years.”