In a huge set back to DRDO India's first indigenously developed long range sub-sonic cruise missile Nirbhay failed to hit the target in its maiden test-firing and had to be terminated midway on Tuesday. It deviated from its flight course and landed in Sarabant village near Erasama in Jagatsinghpur district some 75 km from the Interim Test Range, Chandipur in Balsore district.
The maiden flight of long-range subsonic cruise missile, Nirbhay had to be terminated within 20 minutes of its launch at 11.50 am after it deviated from the path. According to DRDO sources the flight had to be terminated to ensure ‘coastal safety’. However, the DRDO said the missile ‘successfully’ met the basic mission objectives and performed some of the maneuvers satisfactorily before being terminated. The two-stage, low-altitude missile was flying at a height of 4.5 km when the mission was aborted.
DRDO spokesman Ravi Gupta said in a release, ‘After travelling approximately midway, deviations were observed from its intended course. Further, flight was terminated to ensure coastal safety.’ DRDO planned to test the missile for its full range of 1,000 km and established make-shift stations along the East Coast to track the missile during its flight.
After the flight was terminated remains of destroyed Nirbhay landed in Sarabant village under Erasama Block in Jagatsinghpur district. People were panicked and rushed to safety places. But when it was conveyed to them that it was destroyed parts of Nirbhaya then they returned to their village.
The surface-to-surface sub-sonic cruise missile has the capability of being launched from land, sea and air.It has good loitering capability, good control and guidance, high degree of accuracy in terms of impact and very good stealth features. It was developed by Aeronautical Development Establishment wing of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) laboratory based in Bangalore. It has a strike-range of around 1,500 km.
Nirbhay blasts off like a rocket, but then unlike a missile, it turns into an aircraft. Unlike other ballistic missiles like the Agni, it has wings and pronounced tail fins. Once near the target, it can even hover, striking at will from any direction. It is very maneuverable and can fly at tree-top level making it difficult to detect on radar. It can strike targets more than 700 km away carrying nuclear warheads. It is India's answer to America's Tomahawk and Pakistan's Babur.