Cruise missile Nirbhay fails in development trial

India’s first home grown subsonic cruise missile Nirbhay failed ‘miserably’ during a developmental trial on Wednesday with the weapon system deviating from the pre-designated trajectory forcing the mi

Published: 22nd December 2016 02:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd December 2016 04:35 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: India’s first home grown subsonic cruise missile Nirbhay failed ‘miserably’ during a developmental trial on Wednesday with the weapon system deviating from the pre-designated trajectory forcing the mission team to abort it.
Indigenously developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), this long range nuclear capable missile was test-fired from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) off Odisha coast at about 11.46 am.

The missile blasted off from a mobile launcher specifically designed for Nirbhay by the Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (VRDE). It was fourth trial of the weapon system.
A reliable source said the weapon system developed snags in its flight control software and veered off the intended trajectory. The destruction command was given in less than four minutes and the missile plunged into the sea.

“The engine lost its thrust a couple of minutes after take off. The flight control hardware and software failed to actuate the control surfaces,” the source said.
As per the programme, the missile was to fly nearly one hour and cover full strike range of 1,000 km. A Su-30MKI aircraft was deployed to track the missile. Prior to the test, ‘The Express’ had raised doubts on the outcome of the test and reported that the missile was pushed for trial even as the problems in the flight control and navigation software were not sorted out.

Last year, the missile performed in a similar manner and the mission was aborted mid-air after 700 seconds following which an inquiry committee led by National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) Director Shyam Chetty was set up to probe the fiasco.

“The committee had recommended to go for further trials after fixing the snags. But it seems the recommendation was not adhered. The Nirbhay team was not ready for the fourth trial because some sub-systems and software were not foolproof. The test was, in fact, conducted in a hurry even as all software designers had advised not to go for it,” the source informed.

During first test on March 12, 2013, the missile had swerved from path, prompting the defence authorities to destroy it mid air. Second test on October 17, 2014 was claimed successful by the DRDO though it could not maintain low height as intended.
The recurring failure has put the top DRDO scientists, who were pushing for the test despite shortcomings in the system, in a tight spot. While ITR authorities were tightlipped, Director General of DRDO Selvin Christopher, who witnessed the launch, did not respond queries from ‘The Express’.    

Stay up to date on all the latest Odisha news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp