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India test fires subsonic cruise missile Nirbhay

Balasore: India's most sophisticated long-range subsonic cruise missile 'Nirbhay' was successfully test fired from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur here on Tuesday.

This was the fifth experimental test of the homegrown missile system.

The state-of-the-art sleek cruise missile took off from a specially designed launcher from the launch complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur here, at about 11.20 AM, according to sources.

Powered by a solid rocket motor booster developed by the Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL), the missile has an operational range of 1000 km.

'Nirbhay' missile can travel with a turbofan or turbojet engine and is guided by a highly advanced inertial navigation system indigenously developed by the Research Centre Imarat (RCI), sources said.

All along its trajectories from lift off to splash down, the missile is to be tracked with the help of ground-based radars and IAF aircraft.

The two-stage missile is 6 meters long, 0.52 metre wide with a wingspan of 2.7 meters. It can carry a warhead of 200 kg to 300 kg at a speed of 0.6 to 0.7 Mach. Its launch weight is about 1500 kg, the sources said.

The maiden test flight of 'Nirbhay' held on March 12, 2013, had to be terminated midway for safety reasons due to malfunction of a component. However, the second launch on October 17, 2014, was successful.

In the next trial conducted on October 16, 2015, the missile deviated from its path after covering 128 km.

The last test flight held on December 21, 2016, had to be aborted after 700 seconds of its test flight as it deviated from its designated path. All these trials were conducted from the same base at Chandipur ITR.

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