India’s first new generation sub-sonic cruise missile Nirbhay deviated from its flight path during its maiden developmental trial from a defence base off the Odisha coast on Tuesday forcing the DRDO authorities to terminate the mission mid-way.
Defence sources said the stealth missile which was launched from the launching complex-III of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur-on-sea at about 11.50 am deviated from its intended trajectory after 20 minutes of flight.
In a statement, DRDO’s Directorate of Public Interface Director Ravi Kumar Gupta said after travelling approximately half of its pre-coordinated distance, deviations were observed from the missile’s intended course. “Further, flight was terminated to ensure coastal safety,” he stated.
Sources said the missile blasted off from a road mobile launcher and the initial lift up was smooth. “It traveled at a speed of 0.75 Mach and moved away from its designated path mid-way. The missile was then terminated to avoid any untoward incident. However, the system performed well till the deviation was witnessed,” the source added.
Nirbhay is the country’s indigenously developed sub-sonic cruise missile having a strike range of around 1000 km. Once operational, it would supplement the Indo-Russian joint venture BrahMos cruise missile.
As precautionary measures, the district administration had shifted 3284 persons, including 698 children from 453 families residing within 2 km radius of the test range. They were compensated as per the provisions of the ministry of defence (MoD).
According to defence sources, the two-stage surface-to-surface missile has a length of six meters, diameter of 0.55 m, wing span 2.7 m and a launch weight of about 1,500 kgs. It can carry a payload of 450 kilograms.
While the Bengaluru-based Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) has designed Nirbhay missile, most of its technologies have been derived from pilot less target aircraft Lakshya. The missile has been developed by Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL) of DRDO.