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October 25, 2007

Indian Subsonic Cruise Missile Nirbhay is on Development

DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) scientists are currently working on a long-range, subsonic cruise missile, Nirbhay. Nirbhay is a hindi word which means dauntless or fearless. Avinash Chander, the director of the Advanced Systems Laboratory, Hyderabad, in an seminar gave lot of information on the current developments and specifications of Nirbhay.

As of now, India had been very successful with six missile projects. They are, Agni, Prithvi, Brahmos, Akash, Trishul and Nag. Nirbhay is the seventh missile development project in India. Nirbhay comes under the same class as the American Tomahawk which gave a shock during the 1991 Gulf war and Nirbhay would have a range of 1000km which is 300km longer than Pakistan’s subsonic cruise missile Hatf-VII Babur. It’s approximately the distance between Delhi and Mumbai. Babur can cover ranges from 500km to 700km while the American Tomahawk right now can cover a range in excess of 1500km.

Avinash Chander said, “Every modern military needs to have missile options. The requirement for Nirbhay was projected by all three armed forces to fill a gap in our missile programme”. He further said, “We have Brahmos, which is a supersonic cruise missile and the need was felt for a subsonic cruise missile that will be capable of being launched from multiple platforms in land, air and sea”. The Indian military plans to mount Nirbhay on several upcoming platforms, including submarines.

Cruise missile is a missile that is guided to the target. Thus, Nirbhay will have a terrain identification system onboard that will continuously guide the missile through its course to the target by relaying information to its guidance and propulsion systems. Also, it follows a ground hugging, terrain hugging or nap-of-the-earth flight, which means that the missile is capable of flying near to the ground so that it can become completely undetected by ground based radar.

The design of the missile system is complete and right now the hardware development is going on. The missile is expected to weigh around 1000kg and to travel at 0.7 mach (approx. 850kmph). It would be capable of delivering 24 different types of warheads. The technology demonstration of the missile is expected to be in 2009.


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