India is planning to conduct trail of a long range sub-sonic cruise missile ‘Nirbhay’ next month, following two failures and one partial success.
The Nirbhaya missile test comes after India acquired the membership of Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in late June this year, Sputnik News reported Monday.
Till now India was relying only on indigenous technology as it was not a member of MTCR. This resulted in two failures and one partial success. The missile has recently undergone changes and Indian scientists are ready for a fourth test in December this year.
“A low-flight trial of Nirbhaya will be held next month. This will be followed by two more flights. Work on the air variant is on,” said Aeronautical Development Establishment Director M V K V Prasad.
Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) needs to overcome the critical challenges experienced in stability of the missile in flight that resulted in abortion of the mission twice till now, defense analyst Brigadier Rahul Bhonsle (retired) said. During last test, conducted on October 16 2015, India had achieved success in some operations after the missile performed for about 11 minutes.
The project was sanctioned in 2010 with plans to complete it after three years. Later the government had also extended the completion date, adding extra cost to the project.
Director Prasad also assured that the plans to extend range of BrahMos missile will not sink the Nirbhaya missile. “BrahMos with extended range and Nirbhay are two separate projects by different agencies. Thus the move to extend the range of BrahMos should not impact the development of the Nirbhay.” Prasad added.
However, he added that they still have to decide whether they want two sets of cruise missiles or one with range of 600kms and another with 1000kms. The government should also look if they have enough funds to develop both the missiles, apart from considering the missile's operational requirements.