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Nirbhay, India’s long-range subsonic cruise missile from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, off Odisha coast, was successfully test-fired on Friday.
This was the third developmental trial of nuclear-weapons capable Nirbhay, which has an operational range of 1,000 km.
The first trial in March 2013 had to be aborted midway after the missile deviated from its pre-designated trajectory. The second trial held on October 17, 2014, however, was a resounding success with the missile demonstrating its manoeuvring ability and zeroing in on the target through a steep dive at the pre-designated impact point in the Bay of Bengal.
Similar to Tomahawk
Stated to be similar to the American Tomahawk, the indigenously-developed low-altitude flying Nirbhay can evade radar detection.
The two-stage missile initially lifts off like a rocket and once the first stage gets separated, the wings get deployed as it cruises like an aircraft with the thrust given by turbo-prop engine. The loitering missile has the capability to search and pick its target.
During the last trial, the missile cruised at a speed of 0.7 Mach and successfully navigated 15 waypoints, while manoeuvring towards the pre-designated target of more than 1,000 km after a flight of 70 minutes.
Meanwhile Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) missile scientists have carried out pre-launch checks on Thursday. Top missile scientists told The Hindu that new manoeuvres would be tried during Friday’s mission as compared to the last trial.
The missile has been mainly developed by Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), Bengaluru, while Research Centre Imarat and DRDL from Hyderabad also contributed in its development.