Almost kissing the sea, Made in India 'Nirbhay' homes in on glory

Nirbhay can fly with nuclear warheads

Nirbhay missile make in india initiative 'Nirbhay' missile testing conducted in Odisha

There is something about cruise missiles. Flying at very high speeds for long distances, evading detection, hugging the terrain, and demonstrating uncanny manoeuvrability, they home in stealthily, banging into their targets with explosive power.

And what more can a country’s military ask for, if the missile is totally home-made and capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

On Thursday, India underlined its deep commitment to the ongoing ‘atmanirbharta’ (self-reliance) effort by successfully flight-testing its indigenous missile—Nirbhay—which originated from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, off the coast of Odisha. 

A defence establishment source told THE WEEK: “The missile that has been flight-tested is a much upgraded version. Besides the fact that there are several new features like advanced avionics and software, its propulsion system is entirely indigenous.”

Though there was no official confirmation of the flight parameters, the Nirbhay is reported to be capable of flying at an altitude that ranges from less than 50 to 4,000 metres with an operational range of about 1,000 km.

An official release said: “During the test, all subsystems performed as per expectation. The missile performance was monitored by several Range Sensors like Radar, Electro-Optical Tracking System (EOTS) and Telemetry deployed by ITR at different locations to ensure complete coverage of the flight path.”

“The missile followed the desired path using waypoint navigation and demonstrated very low altitude sea-skimming flight.”

All the while, a lone Su-30-Mk-I fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force kept watch.

DRDO’s Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) is the lead agency in developing the missile while the propulsion system is made by the Bengaluru-based Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE).

Till now, it has been the NPO Saturn 36MT, a Russian turbojet engine that powered the missile.

Weighing about 1,500 kg, Nirbhay can be loaded with a 450 kg conventional or a 12 kilo-ton nuclear warhead.

Once finally developed, service-specific versions of the Nirbhay are likely to be inducted into all three services of the Indian military. 


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