India: Buoyed by the successful flight testing of indigenously developed cruise missile Nirbhay from a land based launching platform off the Odisha coast, the DRDO has embarked on a mission to develop the weapon’s other variants making it an all-weather and all-terrain system.
Initially built as a land attack weapon system, Nirbhay would have ship, air and submarine launched variants in near future. While the Army version of the missile is expected to go for production in next three years, DRDO is planning to make its Naval and Air Force variants ready in next five years. According to DRDO Chief Avinash Chander, the country has proved its capability of developing long range cruise missiles. The missile’s other versions would be developed in a phased manner and integrated with the terminal guidance system making the missile more lethal. While Nirbhay’s ship and submarine launched versions are being planned to have a strike range of nearly 1,500 km, the range of its Air Force version may vary from 250 km to 1,500 km. The size of the air version, which can be fired from fighter aircrafts like Sukhoi-30MKI, would also be less compared to the land variant as it will have no booster.
“The success of Nirbhay has added a new dimension to India’s armed forces capabilities. Our next mission is to make this missile much smarter weapon system. We have more challenges ahead. First we need to make the system completely indigenous. We want India to become totally self-reliant in the field of missiles by 2022,” added Avinash.