Avinash Chander, chief controller (missiles and strategic systems), Defence Research and Development Organisation, while speaking to this newspaper, said that although the exact date for the first flight test of Nirbhay is yet to be decided, it would definitely be sometime later this year.
Officials at the Defence Research and Development Organisation disclosed that Nirbhay has a range of 750 km to 1,000 km and its first flight test will be launched from the Integrated Test Range at Balasore in Odisha.
Nirbhay is capable of carrying nearly two dozen different warheads as per the requirements in the field and can be launched from multiple platforms including air, land and sea. It is a two stage missile being developed by Aeronautical Development Establishment of Defence Research and Development Organisation.
Nirbhay uses an inertial navigation system for guidance and is capable of choosing one particular target amongst multiple targets. So far only Su-30 MKI has been equipped with Brahmos supersonic cruise missile and Astra medium-range air-to-air missile. Sources said that this subsonic cruise missile will be inducted into all the three defence forces: the Army, Navy and Air Force.
The air-launched version of Nirbhay for Su-30MKI aircraft of the Indian Air Force, would further accentuate the range and strike capability. Specifically designed for Su-30 MKI, this cruise missile is equipped with ‘loitering’ capabilities and is going to enhance the Indian/Russian BrahMos supersonic cruise missile by covering more distance.
Except for its engine, Nirbhay has been developed indigenously. Sources also disclosed that the Tatas are building the carrier or launch vehicle for Nirbhay.
- Deccan Chronicle