The Indian Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has successfully tested an indigenous made Nirbhay cruise missile off the coast of Balasore district of Odisha. Nirbhay (Hindi:Dauntless) is a long range, all-weather, subsonic cruise missile designed and developed in India by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) which is under DRDO. The missile can be launched from multiple platforms and is capable of carrying conventional and nuclear warheads. It is currently deployed in limited numbers in Line of Actual Control (LAC) during standoff with China.
The missile is claimed to have sea-skimming and loitering capability, i.e., it can go round a target and perform several manoeuvres and then re-engage it. It is also able to pick out a target and attack it among multiple targets. With two side wings, the missile is capable of flying at different altitudes ranging from 50 m to 4 km above the ground and can also fly at low altitudes (like low tree level) to avoid detection by enemy radar. It will eventually supplement the role played by BrahMos missile for the Indian Armed Forced by delivering warheads farther than the 450 km range (1000 km).
Nirbhay is powered by a solid rocket booster for take off which is developed by Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL). Upon reaching the required velocity and height, a turbofan engine in the missile takes over for further propulsion. The missile is guided by an inertial navigation system developed by Research Centre Imarat (RCI) and a radio altimeter for the height determination. The missile has a ring laser gyroscope (RLG) based guidance, control and navigation system. It also has a microelectromechanical system (MEMS) based inertial navigation system (INS) along with the GPS/NavIC system.
The missile has a length of 6 metres, width of 0.52 metres, a wing span of 2.7 metres and weighs about 1500 kg. It has a range of about 1000 km and is capable of delivering 24 different types of warheads depending on mission requirements between 200 and 300 kg. Tata Motors has built the vehicle that is the carrier/launcher for the Nirbhay system and is based on a “high mobility, all-terrain and all-wheel drive Tata LPTA 5252-12 X 12 vehicle”, developed in partnership with DRDO.DRDO is planning to conduct test of Nirbhay under the new name Indigenous Technology Cruise Missile (ITCM) with GTRE developed Small Turbo Fan Engine (STFE) called Manik and an upgraded RF seeker from RCI.