The indigenous surface-to-surface subsonic cruise missile Nirbhay once again failed as it nose-dived midway after it was test fired Friday morning.
The nuclear capable missile was test-fired from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur in Odisha’s Balasore district at 11.38 am Friday. After its blast-off from a mobile launcher, the missile developed technical glitches and could cover only 129 km in 11 minutes when the flight was aborted.
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The missile was then put on self-destruct mode. The missile, which is supposed to be India’s answer to US missile Tomahawk, was to fly nearly one hour.
DRDO sources said the launch was aborted midway after the missile’s guidance system and it could not take the necessary turn. In its first attempt on March 12, 2013, the missile behaved in a similar way and was destroyed midair. The second test on October 17 last year was a partial success as it could not maintain a low altitude.
The missile having a strike range of around 1,000 km can carry warheads up to 290 km. The two-stage missile has a length of 6 m, diameter of 0.52 m, wing span 2.7 m and a launch weight of about 1,500 kg. The two-stage missile lifts vertically like a rocket and after the first stage separation, it cruises like an aircraft. “All initial critical operations such as Booster ignition, Booster separation, Wing deployment and engine start were successfully executed and Nirbhay reached the desired Cruise Altitude,” said a defence ministry statement.