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Defence & Diplomacy

India test fires ‘Nirbhay’; Know all about nuclear-capable sub-sonic cruise missile

India’s Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) conducted the final developmental flight trial of the nuclear-capable sub-sonic cruise missile Nirbhay on Monday, April 15 off the coast of Odisha.

This test was after a year it successfully completed its test flight in November 2017. The maiden test flight of ‘Nirbhay’ held on March 12, 2013, had to be terminated midway for safety reasons due to malfunction of a component. However, the second launch on October 17, 2014, was successful. In the next trial conducted on October 16, 2015, the missile deviated from its path after covering 128 km. The test flight held on December 21, 2016, had to be aborted after 700 seconds of its test flight as it deviated from its designated path. In 2017, the fifth experimental test of the homegrown missile system was done with success.

Also read: All about UTRAQ: India’s first satellite-linked GPS module

Here are the key point to know about cruise missile ‘Nirbhay’

  • Nirbhay is a long range, all-weather missile that can be launched from multiple platforms. This sub-sonic cruise missile is capable of carrying conventional and nuclear warheads.
  • It was developed by Bengaluru-based Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), a lab under DRDO.
  • Powered by a solid rocket booster for take off, once Nirbhay reaches the required velocity and height, its further propulsion is managed by a Turbofan engine.
  • An inertial navigation system developed by Research Center Imarat (RCI) gudies this missile, while a radio altimeter is used for height determination.
  • Measuring 6 metres, the width of Nirbhay missile is 0.52 metres and it has a wing span of 2.7 metres. The weight of this missile is about 1500kg.
  • The missile can deliver 24 different types of warheads depending on mission requirements.
  • The two side wings of Nirbhay missile allows it to fly at different altitudes ranging from 100 m to 4 km above the ground.
  • Nirbhay is equipped with a Ring Laser Gyroscope (RLG) based guidance, control and navigation system.
  • It also comes with a MEMS based Inertial Navigation System (INS) and the GPS system.
  • Equivalent to the famous American Tomahawk missile, Nirbhay missile can carry nuclear warheads of up to 300 kg.

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