SP's LandForces - - SP’S EXCLUSIVES -

The re­mark­able suc­cess of the Nirb­hay long-range ground-launched cruise mis­sile from the In­te­grated Test Range (ITR) on Oc­to­ber 17 has been watched keenly around the world, but es­pe­cially in the re­gion. The largely in­dige­nous mis­sile, sport­ing a fully In­dian in­er­tial nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem (INS) based guid­ance sys­tem and first stage, per­formed bet­ter than ex­pected, strik­ing within 10 me­tres of its in­tended end game site in the In­dian Ocean a lit­tle after 11 a.m. The 1,000+ km range cruise mis­sile, with a cruise ve­loc­ity of 0.7 Mach, is ca­pa­ble of de­liv­er­ing both con­ven­tional and nu­clear war­heads, and is ca­pa­ble of be­ing con­fig­ured for cruise any­where from 100 me­tres to 5 km. Over the next three years, the mis­sile will be tested sev­eral more times be­fore it is cleared for op­er­a­tional ser­vice both with con­ven­tional mis­sile units as well as the Strate­gic Forces Com­mand (SFC). DRDO Chief Dr Av­inash Chan­der has also em­pha­sised that sci­en­tists will be look­ing to spin-off air-launched (from the Su-30 plat­form) and ship-launched land at­tack ver­sions too. Ex­ten­sive re­dun­dan­cies and health mon­i­tor­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties were in­te­grated with the sec­ond mis­sile sys­tem for the test, re­sult­ing in a fully pre­dictable per­for­mance. Un­like the Brah­Mos, the Nirb­hay will be hailed as a truly In­dian cruise mis­sile, since range pa­ram­e­ters will ex­clude the pos­si­bil­ity of a Rus­sian propul­sion sys­tem on pro­duc­tionised vari­ants of the weapon sys­tem.

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