Saturday, October 18, 2014

India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile Nirbhay to be Test-Fired Today



INTEGRATED MISSILE TEST RANGE, BALASORE, ODISHA: India will test its potent nuclear-capable cruise missile 'Nirbhay', a state-of-the-art missile developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) today if all goes well. The scientists are forging ahead with the crucial test, to be conducted from the Integrated Missile Test Range in Balasore, Odisha, despite the coastal region of the state being hit hard by Cyclone Hudhud. (10 must-know facts about Nirbhay)

Nirbhay (which means fearless) is very manoeuvrable and can fly at tree-top level, making it difficult to detect on radar, and strikes targets more than 700 km away carrying nuclear warheads, giving India the capability to strike deep into enemy territory.

Very soon when India's own satellite navigation fleet is fully deployed, Indian cruise missiles will start using signals from the Indian space system giving the country that extra edge.

Unlike other ballistic missiles like the Agni, Nirbhay has a wing and pronounced tail fins. It launches like a missile and in early flight the small wings get deployed. It then flies like an aircraft and can even hover near the target, striking at will from any direction.

On its maiden flight on March 12, last year, Nirbhay had to be terminated, when the missile deviated from its course about 20 minutes after launch. As the missile went off its flight trajectory, its engine was cut off to bring it down to ensure coastal safety. It fell near the coast; the DRDO said no one was injured.

The Nirbhay is a sub-sonic cruise missile and gives India the capacity to launch different kinds of payloads at different ranges from various platforms at a very low cost. It can be launched from a mobile launcher. The missile has a fire-and-forget system that cannot be jammed.

India has had the capability to make ballistic missiles for some time now and has made tactical missiles of different capacity. But it had not mastered a cruise missile yet and DRDO scientists worked very hard on the Nirbhay.

The US had deployed cruise missiles very effectively during the Gulf War.

The Nirbhay is India's answer to America's Tomahawk and Pakistan's Babur.

Here are 10 must-know points about India's Nirbhay or ‘fearless missile’:

It is a sub-sonic cruise missile. 

It blasts off like a rocket, but then unlike a missile, it turns into an aircraft. Unlike other ballistic missiles like the Agni, Nirbhay has wings and pronounced tail fins.
In early flight after launch, the rocket motor falls off and the small wings get deployed.

At this point a gas turbine engine kicks in and it becomes like a full aircraft.
The Nirbhay is very maneuverable and can fly at tree-top level making it difficult to detect on radar.
Once near the target, it can even hover, striking at will from any direction.

It can strike targets more than 700 km away carrying nuclear warheads, giving India the capability to strike deep into enemy territory.

It gives India the capacity to launch different kinds of payloads at different ranges from various platforms at a very low cost. It can be launched from a mobile launcher.

The missile has a fire-and-forget system that cannot be jammed.

It is India's answer to America's Tomahawk and Pakistan's Babur missile. The US had deployed cruise missiles very effectively during the Gulf War.

India has made ballistic missile and tactical missiles of different capacity, but is yet to master the making of a cruise missile.