Long range subsonic cruise missile ‘Nirbhay’ test flown for 5th time


PTI

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 All initial critical operations of the trial, such as the blast off, were successful as it moved up in its trajectory, a DRDO scientist said.

Indigenously designed and developed long range subsonic cruise missile ‘Nirbhay’, which can carry warheads weighing up to 300 kg, was tested from a range at Chandipur along the Odisha coast on Tuesday.

This was the fifth experimental test of the missile system. Of of four earlier trials, since its maiden launch on March 12 in 2013, only one was successful.

The state-of-the-art sleek cruise missile took off from a specially designed launcher from the launch complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) near Balasore at 11.20 a.m., sources in the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) sources said.

All initial critical operations of the trial, such as the blast off, were successful as it moved up in its trajectory, a DRDO scientist said. Data was being retrieved from the tracking systems for a detailed assessment, he added.

Powered by a solid rocket motor booster developed by the Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL), the missile has an operational range of 1,000 km.

The missile can travel with a turbofan or turbojet engine and is guided by a highly advanced inertial navigation system indigenously developed by the Research Centre Imarat (RCI), the DRDO sources said.

After the missile achieves designated altitude and velocity, the booster motor is separated and the engine automatically switches on taking further propulsion, said a DRDO scientist associated with the project.

He said “mid-way in its flight, the missile’s wing opens up by the commands generated by the onboard computer for stabilising the flight path.”

All along its trajectories, from lift off to splash down, the missile is to be tracked with the help of ground based radars and IAF aircraft.

The health parameters of the vehicle are being monitored by indigenous telemetry stations by a team of professionals from the DRDO’s ITR and LRDE (Electronics and Radar Development Establishment).

The two-stage missile is 6 metre long, 0.52 metre wide with a wing span of 2.7 metre. It can fly at a speed of 0.6 to 0.7 Mach. Its launch weight is about 1,500 kg, the sources said.

The maiden test flight of ‘Nirbhay’ had to be terminated midway for safety reasons due to the malfunctioning 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 last 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. All these trials were conducted from the same range at Chandipur.

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