Proving a host of technologies and bridging the critical gap in the country's arsenal, India's first long range subsonic cruise missile, Nirbhay, was successfully test fired from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur, in Orissa, for a distance of about 1,000 km on Friday.
This was the second flight trial of the missile as the maiden test had to be aborted mid way in March last year when the missile deviated from its path. The 6m tall, low altitude flying missile which can evade detection by radars was fired from a mobile launcher at 10.05 am.
After blasting off like a rocket to a height of 100m, the booster got separated as the missile turned horizontal and the wings got deployed making it fly like an aircraft. At the same time, the Turbo Prop engine kicked off and provided thrust to the missile which began cruising at 0.7 Mach at an altitude of 4.8 km.
The tree-top flying missile, which can carry conventional and nuclear war heads then made a series of manoeuvres and navigated `5 way points during a flight lasting one hour and 10 minutes. Carrying a dummy payload of n350 kg, the4 missile also demonstrated the critical ability to zero in on its target by diving towards a pre-designated impact point in the Bay of Bengal.
The block house at Chandipur erupted with celebrations and clapping by scientists after the success of the mission. Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister and DRDO director General Avinash Chander described it as a great moment and said Nirbhay performed better than expected.
He said it perfectly followed the path upto 15 way points and reached the required range in four digits. He said four versions of Nirbhay - land, ship, air and submarine - would be developed and the first land attack cruise missile would be delivered in three years.
The missile was developed by the DRDO's aeronautical development establishment, Bangalore, and the avionics was provided by the Research Centre Imarat, Hyderabad. The DRDL has also contributed to the development of the missile.