India has successfully completed the test of a new long-range subsonic cruise missile capable of hitting Chinese territory.
On Oct. 17, the surface version of the Nirbhay — meaning "dauntless" or "fearless" — missile was tested at the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur in the Balasore district of Odisha, meeting all parameters and completing all 15 way-points. The missile reportedly traveled more than an hour and accurately hit its target.
"The missile maintained an accuracy better than 10 meters throughout its path and covered more than 1,000 kilometers," said Avinash Chander, head of India's Defence Research and Development Organisation, the Nirbhay's developer.The Nirbhay was test fired for the first time in March 2013 but the missile veered away from its trajectory, forcing the command center to detach the engine and destroy the missile mid-flight.
Referred to as India's answer to America's Battleaxe subsonic cruise missile, the Nirbhay is an all-weather low-cost long-range cruise missile with stealth and high accuracy. It weighs about a tonne and has a length of six meters. The missile has its own wings and tail and has a range of more than 1,000 km, meaning it has the ability to strike deep into Chinese territory.
Notably, the Nirbhay can fly at very low altitudes to avoid the detection of enemy radars and can be launched from the land, sea and air. It can also carry 24 types of warheads — including nuclear — depending on mission requirements and uses an inertial navigation system for guidance.
Once the Nirbhay is inducted into the Indian Navy, Army and Air Force, currently expected around 2016, New Delhi will begin to stop importing new missiles.
"Our target is to make India missile-import free by the year 2022. This means that we need not import any missile in terms of air-to-ground, surface-to-air or the air-to-air missiles," Chander said.