March 13, 2013
An Indian cruise missile test was terminated March 12 after the missile failed to hit the target and deviated from its course during its first launch.
But Nirbhay, India’s first indigenously developed subsonic cruise missile, did successfully meet its basic mission objectives, said India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), which developed the missile.
“The long-range cruise missile Nirbhay was successfully launched at 11:50 hours [local time March 12] from a launch complex at Chandipur in [eastern] Odisha state, meeting the basic mission objectives successfully,” a DRDO official says. “After traveling approximately midway, deviations were observed from its intended course. Further, flight was terminated to ensure coastal safety,” the official says.
“We have not been able to achieve complete range capability, but the mission objectives have been met,” the official said. DRDO is still examining the flight’s details.
Designed and developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment, a DRDO unit based in Bengaluru, Nirbhay (“Fearless”) is a two-stage, surface-to-surface, terrain-hugging missile with a striking range of about 1,000 km (621 mi.).
Once Nirbhay’s development trials have been successfully conducted, the missile will be inducted into India’s army, navy and air force, the DRDO official says.
Indian scientists have been working on the missile for more than seven years. DRDO officials conducted a project review in Bengaluru last August.
According to DRDO, Nirbhay will supplement the joint Indo-Russian Brahmos cruise missile by carrying warheads beyond 300 km. The supersonic 290-km-range Brahmos flies at Mach 2.8.