Nirbhay: Another Milestone in Missile Technology


Nirbhay missile

India Friday successfully test-fired its indigenously-developed nuclear-capable sub-sonic long-range cruise missile ‘Nirbhay’ that can hit a target 1,500 km away. The missile was test-fired from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur in Odisha’s Baleswar district. Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Indian scientists on the successful test-firing of the missile and described it as a “great impetus to our defence capabilities”.

Important facts about NIRBHAY missile.

  • The missile has a capacity to hit targets at a distance of 1,500 km and was successfully test fired at 10.03 am.
  • This is the second developmental trial of the missile. Its first test was March 12, 2013, but it could not achieve all the desired parameters as the flight had to be terminated mid-way when deviations were observed from its intended course.
  • It is a sub-sonic cruise missile. It blasts off like a rocket, but then unlike a missile, it turns into an aircraft. Unlike other ballistic missiles like the Agni, Nirbhay has wings and pronounced tail fins.
  • In early flight after launch, the rocket motor falls off and the small wings get deployed.
  • At this point a gas turbine engine kicks in and it becomes like a full aircraft.
  • The Nirbhay is very maneuverable and can fly at tree-top level making it difficult to detect on radar.
  • Once near the target, it can even hover, striking at will from any direction.
  • It can strike targets more than 700 km away carrying nuclear warheads, giving India the capability to strike deep into enemy territory.
  • It gives India the capacity to launch different kinds of payloads at different ranges from various platforms at a very low cost. It can be launched from a mobile launcher.
  • The missile has a fire-and-forget system that cannot be jammed.
  • It is India’s answer to America’s Tomahawk and Pakistan’s Babur missile. The US had deployed cruise missiles very effectively during the Gulf War.
  • India has made ballistic missile and tactical missiles of different capacity, but is yet to master the making of a cruise missile.

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