The fourth test of India’s “Nirbhay” land-attack cruise missile (LACMs), designed to carry nuclear or conventional warheads failed on Wednesday, reported the Times of India.
All the four tests of the subsonic missile, with a strike range of 1,000km, have failed to achieve the required test parameters.
“The test was an utter failure, with the missile veering to the right within two minutes of take-off,” ToI quoted a source.
The missile’s first test in March 2013 had completely failed. The second one was dubbed “a partial success” in October 2014 but the third test in October 2015 also failed miserably, said the report.
According to the report, the missile had to be destroyed in mid-air after it deviated from its flight-path along the coast in Bay of Bengal soon after launch from the Integrated Test Range at Balasore, off the Odisha coast around noon on Wednesday.
The Indian armed forces already have the supersonic BrahMos cruise missiles, developed with the help of Russia, but they have a range of only 290kms with the ability to carry conventional warheads.
“The Nirbhay, a stealth missile in the making for almost a decade now, was meant to fulfill the armed forces’ demand for nuclear-tipped land-attack cruise missiles versatile enough to be fired from land, air and sea. The missile was said to be a counter to Pakistan’s Babur LACM.”
Cruise missiles such as the Nirbhay, are designed to fly at low-altitudes, virtually hugging the terrain, to evade enemy radars and missile defence systems, the report said, adding that the Nirbhay, after an initial blast off with a solid-propellant booster engine, is supposed to deploy its smallish wings and tail fins in the second-stage to fly like an aircraft.
“The missile, which flies at a speed of 0.6 to 0.7 Mach and carries a 300-kg warhead, is designed to be highly maneuverable with “loitering capabilities” to first identify and then hit the intended target.”