Recently on 21 December 2016, Nirbhay, an all-weather, low-cost, long-range cruise missile capable of carrying conventional and nuclear warheads, was test-fired for the fourth time from the launch complex 3 of the Integrated Missile Test Range in Balasore, Odisha.
The test was conducted by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). After blasting off from launch pad, the missile took a unique trajectory in its entire path towards the target.
However the test was an utter failure. It was fourth test of Nirbhay missile so far and out of total four launches, three have ended in failure. The initial launch was conducted in March 2013 but it failed. The second test was again conducted in October 2014 which can be marked as a big success as it had travelled 1,010 km instead of the targeted 800 km. The third mission on October 16, 2015 was again a failure.
Top 9 Key Points About Nirbhay Missile
1. Nirbhay is a long range surface-to-surface nuclear-capable sub sonic cruise missile developed indigenously by the Defence Research and Development Organisation.
2. The missile has a range of more than 1000 km, weighs about 1500 kg and has a length of 6 metres having a combined missile and aeronautical technology which allows it to take off vertically like a missile and cruise horizontally like an aircraft.
3. It is a two stage missile. In its first stage, it tilts horizontally. In the second stage it will cruise horizontally like an aircraft with a turbojet engine at a subsonic speed of 0.7 Mach.
4. It is capable of carrying multiple payloads including 24 different types of warheads and also is capable to engage several targets in a single flight.
5. It can be launched from various kind of platforms, ranging from surface lorry to a ship, from air and even from underwater vessels.
6. It has a loitering capability, i.e. it can go round a target and perform several manoeuvres and then re-engage it.
7. It is considered as India’s answer to US’s Tomahawk and Pakistan’s Babur missile.
8. With two side wings, the missile is capable of flying at different altitudes ranging from 500 m to 4 km above the ground and can also fly at low altitudes (like low tree level) to avoid detection by enemy radar.
9. It is expected to supplement the India-Russian joint venture BrahMos supersonic cruise missile which can carry warheads up to 290 km.