BALASORE: India did it finally demonstrating its capabilities of developing long range cruise missiles indigenously.
After a failed trial last year, homegrown surface-to-surface subsonic cruise missile Nirbhay was successfully test fired from a defence base off the Odisha coast on Friday.
Defence sources said the slim and sophisticated nuclear capable missile blasted off from a mobile launcher positioned in the launching complex-III of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur-on-sea at about 10.05 am leaving behind a chain of thick smokes. For the first time, the performance of Nirbhay was closely watched by an Indian Air Force aircraft.
Nirbhay Missile (Subsonic Cruise)
Operational range – 1,000 km
Weight – 1,500 kg
Length – 6 m
Diameter – 0.52 m
Wing span – 2.7 m
Warhead – 300 kg – 400 kg
Engine – Turbofan
Speed – Mach 0.7
DRDO scientists and all technical staffs involved in the mission celebrated the moment as the missile went up vertically, took a horizontal turn and travelled on the pre-designated trajectory till the target area. The entire mission, from lift-off till the final splash down was a perfect flight achieving all the mission objectives.
After completion of the mission, Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister and DRDO Chief Avinash Chander said the missile was yet another giant step forward in India's technological capabilities for design, development and leading to production state-of-the-art weapons platforms and equipment for the country's Armed Forces.
“It was a great day for India”, he announced immediately after the launch. The missile maintained the accuracy better than 10 meters throughout its path and covered a distance of more than 1,000 km. “The successful indigenous development of Nirbhay cruise missile will fill a vital gap in the war fighting capabilities of our armed forces", he contained.
The cruise missile, powered by a solid rocket motor booster developed by the Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL) took off majestically from a mobile launcher specifically designed for Nirbhay by the Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (VRDE), both being DRDO laboratories.
As it achieved designated altitude and velocity, the booster motor got separated, the turbofan engine automatically switched on taking over the further propulsion and the wings opened up by the commands generated by the on-board computer (OBC) stabilising the flight. With a dummy payload of nearly 350 kg, the missile travelled at an altitude of nearly 5 km
Guided by a highly advanced inertial navigation system indigenously developed by Research Centre Imarat (RCI), Nirbhay continued its flight that lasted nearly 73 minutes. Throughout its path, the missile capable of cruising at a speed of Mach 0.7 was tracked by ground based radars while its health parameters were monitored by indigenous telemetry stations.
The 1,000 kilometer class cruise missile with the capability to strike deep in to the enemy territory has been designed and developed by the DRDO at its Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) based in Bengaluru. The two-stage tree-top flying missile has a length of six meters, diameter of 0.52 m, wing span 2.7 m and a launch weight of about 1,500 kgs.
This was the second launch of Nirbhay cruise missile. The maiden launch last year on March 12 was partial success achieving most of the mission objectives. The maiden flight had to be terminated for safety reasons due to malfunction of a component, after deviation from intended path was observed.
Director of ADE P Srikumar led the launch operations as mission director. The launch preparations were planned and supervised by Nirbhay Project Director Vasanth Sastri.
The launch was witnessed by DS and DG Aeronautical systems Dr K Tamilmani, DS and DG Missiles and strategic systems Dr V G Sekran, Vice Admiral Dinesh Prabhakar (retd.), Director of RCI Satish Reddy, Director of ASL Dr Tessy Thomas, Director of ITR MVKV Prasad and senior DRDO scientists.
Defence Minister Arun Jaitley has congratulated the DRDO team on the successful flight trial of Nirbhay. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also lauded the DRDO scientists, saying the development of Nirbhay cruise missile was a great impetus to the country's defence capabilities.