Nirbhay: The most awaited cruise missile

Discussion in 'Indian Defence Forum' started by SamantK, Jul 7, 2012.

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  1. SamantK
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    SamantK SENIOR MEMBER

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    In contrast to how India promoted its Agni-V ballistic missile, New Delhi is unlikely to draw a lot of international attention to upcoming testing of the Nirbhay cruise missile, even as it holds far more significance for the nation's weapons program than is widely appreciated.

    In August, the country is scheduled to conduct the first test of its little known Nirbhay (“fearless”), a subsonic weapon with a maximum range of 1,000 km (620 mi.). Designated “secret,” the weapon's development has remained concealed since its existence was revealed in 2006.

    Like the Agni-V, the Nirbhay will be tested from India's missile range over the Bay of Bengal. The missile has two stages, is understood to be powered by a Russian-built NPO Saturn engine, will cruise at Mach 0.7 and is being developed to demonstrate loitering capabilities. Sources at the Hyderabad-based Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL), which built the missile prototype, say the weapon is ready for its first flight.

    ASL Director V.G. Sekaran recently said the Nirbhay was slated for a July-August debut. While the agency has refused to comment on the Nirbhay's capabilities, there remains some ambiguity about whether the “Nirbhay” name pertains only to the primary weapon—the subsonic cruise missile—or to a family, including a yet-unnamed, long-range, scramjet-powered supersonic cruise missile.

    The ambiguity is an inevitable part of the project's secret status. The agency has worked with intrigue before; last July, it tested the Prahaar quick-reaction, surface-to-surface missile after first revealing the existence of the system barely two weeks before.

    The Indian armed forces are watching the Nirbhay with perhaps greater focus than they did the Agni. While the country's weapons program has matured in the ballistic missile arena, it has little or nothing to show in cruise missiles. In the Indo-Russian BrahMos, Russia still builds critical technologies such as the engine and seeker, while India contributes the inertial navigation and fire control systems. On the Nirbhay, while Russia is understood to have contributed the engine, sources say it will be replaced with an Indian turbojet or tubofan in a later phase.

    “In many ways, the Nirbhay is a more crucial weapon system than the Agni family,” says an officer with one of the Indian army's BrahMos missile regiments. “The lack of a long-range cruise missile has long been felt by the armed forces. The BrahMos is an excellent border weapon, but we need a terrain-hugging missile with a range of 750-1,000 kilometers for more potent deterrent value. That's why we're waiting for the Nirbhay more than we've perhaps waited for anything in the last 20 years.” The BrahMos supersonic cruise missile has a stated range of 290 km.


    In 2007, India's Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) revealed that the Nirbhay would be capable of delivering 24 different warhead types. DRDO sources say that while the engine is Russian, the rest of Nirbhay is fully indigenous, including sensors, guidance and flight-control systems. In 2008, reports suggested the Nirbhay was a loose derivative of the indigenous Lakshya target drone, which is operational with the armed forces. A mockup of the Nirbhay was to have been displayed at Aero India in February 2011, but was pulled at the last moment after a change of heart at DRDO.

    A former rear admiral from the Indian navy's gunnery says, “The Nirbhay is rightly a hushed-up program. It shouldn't draw too much attention until it has begun testing in earnest. Three years ago, there was a lot of confidence in the program and scientists were confident they could deliver such an ambitious weapon. It is a clean break from anything India has developed before.”

    The Nirbhay has never been seen or photographed, and India wants to keep it that way until the actual debut test. DRDO sources say the missile is being built to be used from land, sea and air. The Center for Military Airworthiness and Certification has revealed that it has been asked to integrate the Nirbhay to an Indian air force Sukhoi Su-30 MKI airframe, while the land variant's mobile launcher was recently revealed to be an Indian-built Tata Prahaar vehicle unveiled at New Delhi's DefExpo trade event in March.

    http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/AW_07_02_2012_p54-463008.xml
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  2. peep
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    peep BANNED

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    Even we at pdf are waiting for the test with bated breath...
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  3. SamantK
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    SamantK SENIOR MEMBER

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    Hopefully August remains final...
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  4. indianrabbit
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    indianrabbit ELITE MEMBER

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    we seriously lack in this area, Pakistan with limited resource has long range cruise missile for long.
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  5. peep
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    peep BANNED

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    They need US satellites access to guide the missile in terrain hugging mode. Lets not talk about it !!
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  6. SamantK
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    SamantK SENIOR MEMBER

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    I'm not sure if they have any long range cruise missile.. Babur's range is 750km... Does it classify under long range?
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  7. peep
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    peep BANNED

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    Primary Function Medium-range subsonic cruise missile
    Length 7 m
    Wing Span 6.75m
    Range 500km (310 miles)
    Speed 880 km/h (550 miles/h)
    Warheads Both conventional and Nuclear
    Status Operational, Undergoing serial production

    http://militaryasia.blogspot.in/2010/01/pakistan-babehatf-7-babur-cruise.html
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  8. SamantK
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    SamantK SENIOR MEMBER

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    Launched from ground-based transporter erector launchers, warships and submarines, the Babur can be armed with a conventional or nuclear warhead and has a reported range of 700*km (430*mi). The missile is designed to avoid radar detection and penetrate enemy air defences.[2][3][4] Serial production of the Babur started in October 2005.[5]

    Babur (cruise missile) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Even then they don't have a long range cause it should be above 1000 km

    A better source http://www.missilethreat.com/cruise/id.144/cruise_detail.asp
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  9. joekrish
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    joekrish SENIOR MEMBER

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    Will be a short in the arm for our armed forces if all goes well, best of luck DRDO. :tup:
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  10. OrionHunter
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    OrionHunter ELITE MEMBER

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    That's not quite correct! A cruise missile works on a navigation system called TERCOM (Terrain Contour Matching). TERCOM navigation "maps" consist of a series of strips of land that the missile is expected to fly over, encoded as a series of altitudes. Since a radar altimeter measures distances, height over the ground, the maps encode a series of changes in altitude. When flying over water, contour maps are replaced by magnetic field maps.

    During the flight to the target the accuracy of the system has to be enough only to avoid terrain features. This allows the maps to be relatively low resolution in these areas. Only the portion of the map for the terminal approach has to be higher resolution, and would normally be encoded at the highest resolutions available.

    Satellites are generally not used for navigation in cruise missiles. They are fully pre-progammed autonomous systems. However, the radar 'maps' are sourced from satellites and then fed into the on-board computers in advance. However, TERCOM based systems are much less flexible than more modern systems like GPS, which can be set to attack any target from any location, and does not require any sort of pre-recorded information which means they can be targeted immediately prior to launch.

    But the point to note is that navigating a cruise missile by using a satellite positioning system, such as GPS or GLONASS Satellite navigation systems has its inherent disadvantages. If the satellites are interfered with (e.g. destroyed) or if the satellite signal is interfered with (e.g. jammed), the satellite navigation system becomes inoperable and the missile will stray and be lost.

    Newer generation cruise missiles now have system redundancy equipped with both types of guidance systems as described above.


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    Cheers! :smokin:
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  11. karan21
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    karan21 SENIOR MEMBER

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    hmm greatt india should get this as soon as possible. this missile will make us a master of yet another tech.
  12. arp2041
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    arp2041 SENIOR MEMBER

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    what is loitering capability??

    + it would be great if Nirbhay can finally be integrated to a su-30mki, so after Brahmos it will be the major boost for IAF.
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  13. WHF
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    WHF FULL MEMBER

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    It means the missile can loiter(stay in air like a uav) an finally strike when the mission parameters are met like target is clear, mission is delayed for some reasons etc
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  14. peep
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    peep BANNED

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    Loitering capability in layman's terms would mean not heading straight to the target but taking a detour (which will is decided in real time and not hard coded before launch.). Detection of enemy radars or extreme terrain may trigger such detours..
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  15. david blain
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    david blain BANNED

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    Loitaring missileshas a dual mission – to search a wide area for targets an relay their location back to the command center, where these targets are engaged by direct attack PAMs or by other assets. Toward the end of its mission, or when a priority target appears, the MISSILES itself can be directed to break off its search and attack the target or any other target it is assigned by the commanders.
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