NIRB­HAY CRUISE MIS­SILE TO BE TESTED THIS YEAR

SP's LandForces - - SHOW REPORT / INTERVIEW -

In­dia’s lit­tle-known Nirb­hay long-range cruise mis­sile is un­der­stood to be ready for its first test this year. The project, des­ig­nated se­cret by the Min­istry of De­fence, but ac­knowl­edged to ex­ist of­fi­cially by the gov­ern­ment, is a 750-1,000-km two-stage cruise mis­sile with an ex­tended loi­ter­ing ca­pa­bil­ity. Un­like the BrahMos fam­ily and the long-range scram­jet-pow­ered su­per­sonic cruise mis­sile that is also un­der­stood to be in the works, the Nirb­hay is a high sub­sonic cruise plat­form de­signed for both con­ven­tional and nu­clear pay­load de­liv­ery. In terms of per­for­mance pa­ram­e­ters, the Nirb­hay is com­pared by the de­sign team with the Amer­i­can Tom­a­hawk.

The Nirb­hay is be­ing de­vel­oped for land, sea and air launch, mak­ing it per­haps In­dia’s most po­tent stand-off weapon for strate­gic pur­poses. With a low cruis­ing al­ti­tude and in-built de­sign to evade mis­sile de­fence cor­dons, the Nirb­hay will be de­ployed in three di­men­sions both with con­ven­tional units as well as the Strate­gic Forces Com­mand. It is un­der­stood that the pro­to­type Nirb­hay is pow­ered by a tur­bo­fan engine built by Rus­sia’s NPO Saturn. While the Agni bal­lis­tic mis­sile and K-se­ries hy­brid weapons en­ter ser­vice, the coun­try’s de­ter­rent forces will be look­ing at the Nirb­hay with great in­ter­est from this year as it be­gins its trial by fire. The Nirb­hay will be mounted on a Tata 12x12 truck when it en­ters ser­vice.

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