India today conducted the flight test of indigenously-designed and developed long range subsonic cruise missile 'Nirbhay' from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Balasore in Odisha which ended in “failure”, media reports said.
The Hindu quoted the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as saying that the test was “an utter failure”, but there was no official word on reports that it had failed.
Including Wednesday’s test, three of the four flight test of Nirbhay have reportedly ended in failure.
The sophisticated missile with a strike range of 1,000 km was test launched from a specially-designed launcher around noon from the launch complex-3 of the ITR near here, defence sources said.
Shortly after the launch, there were reports that the test had failed like most of the earlier launches.
Neither the Defence Ministry nor the DRDO, which is the agency involved in the launch, were ready to comment on the development. They also refused to react to reports that the launch was a failure.
Powered by a solid rocket motor booster, 'Nirbhay' missile with a turbo-fan engine is guided by a highly advanced inertial navigation system. After the missile achieves designated altitude and velocity the booster motor is separated and the torfan engine automatically switches on taking over further propulsion, a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) scientist associated with this project said.
He said that mid-way in its flight, missile's wing opens up by the commands generated by the sophisticated on board computer for stabilising the flight path. The missile was tracked with the help of ground based radars and it's health parameters were monitored by indigenous telemetry stations by team of professionals from DRDO's ITR and LRDE (Electronics & Radar Development Establishment).
The maiden test flight of Nirbhay held on March 12, 2013 had to be terminated mid way for safety reasons due to malfunction of a component, sources said.
However, the second launch on October 17, 2014 was successful. The missile travelled 1,010 km instead of the targeted 800 km.
The third trial conducted on October 16, 2015, had to be aborted after 700 seconds of its launch. All these trials were conducted from same defence base.