India: India is planning to test-fire the nuclear-capable Nirbhay cruise missile from the integrated test at Balasore in the state of Odisha on October 17. This also marks the second launch of the indigenous weapon developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). All eyes will be on the upcoming launch as the Nirbhay’s much-hyped maiden launch last March had failed to hit the pre-designated target in the Bay of Bengal. When ready, the missile will be able to deliver nuclear warheads at ranges of up to 1,000 km.
The DRDO had to terminate the Nirbhay flight mid-way in March 2013 after the long-range missile deviated from its intended course, leading to some delays in the programme. A senior DRDO official revealed that glitches in the missile’s inertial navigation system had been ironed out. “The first test was a partial success as several mission objectives were met. The upcoming test is crucial as we have to demonstrate the capability of the missile. It will require a few more successful tests before being declared ready for induction,” added the official. Low-flying cruise missiles such as the Nirbhay can easily slip past enemy air-defence systems due to small radar cross section. The Nirbhay will be configured to be launched from multiple platforms such as land, air and sea.