BHUBANESWAR: The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is all set for an experimental test of India’s first long range land attack cruise missile from a defence facility off Odisha coast next week.
The missile, also dubbed as Indigenous Technology Cruise Missile (ITCM), a derivative of Nirbhay, will be flight-tested with indigenously developed engine, propulsion and navigation systems.
Preparations are underway at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) for the test. Defence sources said an area warning has already been issued for the launch of an experimental flight vehicle over the Bay of Bengal between October 6 and 8.“The mission depends on the weather conditions. If things go as per plan, the missile will be test-fired on Wednesday. As the missile is expected to travel more than 700 km, the tracking systems have already been positioned to capture data,” said the sources.
The ITCM with the new Manik engine was first tested on August 11. The mission was a partial success. Though the turbofan engine performed well, the missile did not cover the full range due to a possible snag in the control system.Immediately after the test, the DRDO claimed that the missile was tested for a short range and the next test will be to cover the full range. The faults in the system have been rectified and the scientists are leaving no stone unturned for the maiden full range testing of the missile, said a defence official.
Sources said after the successful test of the indigenously developed turbofan engine, the Indian Air Force and Navy have evinced interest for the air and ship variants of the missile. The DRDO is also learnt to have initiated design modifications to develop the missile for all three services and meet the requirement of future warfare.
Launched as subsonic cruise missile Nirbhay in 2012, the weapon system has been developed into the long range land attack cruise missile system. It will soon have two more variants. The land attack version will be deployed in the armed forces after a couple of user trials.The cruise missile will supplement the Indo-Russian joint venture supersonic cruise missile BrahMos. It has a strike range of 1,000 km and is capable of loitering and cruising at 0.7 Mach at an altitude as low as 100 metre.