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India Successfully Test Fires Nirbhay Intermediate-Range Subsonic Cruise Missile

© Photo : defenceforumindia.comCruise missile Nirbhay
Cruise missile Nirbhay - Sputnik International
The air-launched version of the missile is likely to begin trials in 2021. The Indian Navy is requesting that the Nirbhay have a range of at least 1,500 km; its current reported range is 1,000 km.

New Delhi (Sputnik): After two back-to-back failures, India successfully conducted a developmental trial of the intermediate range (1,000km) Nirbhay missile from a defence facility off the coast of the state of Odisha on Monday afternoon. The subsonic land-attack cruise missile features terrain hugging (30m AGL) capabilities and is being developed to supplement its supersonic Brahmos missile, which it jointly developed with Russia. 

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This was the sixth test of the weapon, which is the first long-range cruise missile designed and developed by India. Three of the test launches ended in failure; the missiles had to be destroyed in mid-air after deviating from their course. The missile has the capability to cruise at 0.7 Mach, at altitudes as low as 100 m. 

"The missile was fired for a shorter range. The mission was excellent," a defence official said after the test.

The missile is powered by Russian NPO Saturn 36MT mini turbofan engines, which may be replaced with Indian-developed engines at a later stage.

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The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) plans to develop land, aircraft, ship, and submarine-launched versions of the Nirbhay cruise missile. Sources told Sputnik that last year in January, the Indian Air Force (IAF) officially expressed interest in an air-launched version of the Nirbhay for air-to-ground use by its Su-30 MKI jets. The air-launched version of the missile is likely to begin trial from 2021. The Indian Navy is requesting that the Nirbhay have a range of at least 1,500 km.

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