Nirbhaya cruise missile was a crucial test for DRDO.

While this is a true fact that, one of the main reasons for this was that if it failed even one test, the project will be closed. Hence after the last test which was unscuccessful in December 2016, an committee headed by Ex Defense Minister Shri. Manohar Parrikar did two things:

  • Gave a deadline of June 2018. The deadline was given for one successful test or the Project will be cancelled.
  • A committee consisting of scientists from ISRO, BARC and Prestigious academic institution was formed to help DRDO to figure out and sort out the problems with

The second point just proves how important is this missiles for India.


To get into this we need to rewind ourselves to two things:

  • Use of Cruise Missile in World War: The first time “Cruise missiles” saw full blown use was in the World war 2. The user was none other than the the Nazi Germany.The Missile was the “V-1 ” Cruise Missile. They were extensively use to bomb the London city. Later due to their inaccuracy issues they were used to target only strategic sites.

  • Disadvantages of V-1 CM: The biggest enemy of the V-1 were the Anto aircraft guns and Interceptor aircrafts. All this was due to V-1 was unable to achieve low altitudes, for which was it was made to fly.
  • But ultimately these were the following distinctive characters of CM:
    • Cheap missile to destroy low cost but strategically important targets.
    • Hard for Air Defense to detect.

But why subsonic over supersonic, which answers why “Nirbhay” when “Brahmos”?

The reason for this is the following:

  • Supersonic means speed above Mach 1 and as soon as the missile reaches this speed the Drag suddenly increases, Skin friction suddenly increases also at even higher speeds this causes lot of body heating which puts focus on three problems:
    • New and Power full engine:
      • Brahmos: RAMJET
      • Nirbhay:Turbofan/Turbojet
    • New Body Material.
    • Different Design:
      • Nirbhay: Subsonic: Aircraft Like design
      • Brahmos: Different Design that nowhere resembles aircraft, though Cruise missile are called to be fly like aircrafts.
  • All this special Engine, Body Material, Aerodynamic design makes Brahmos much costlier than Nirbhay. Hence Brahmos will be expected to destroy more Specifically strategic and Costly assets. Add to this the longer range of Nirbhay than Brahmos. Hence Nirbhay test was important.

As for the Guidance, India has it’s standard Guidance System developed by RCI, Imarat called Ring Laser Gyroscope, which equips most of the Indian missile systems.

As for positioning system, that used to be GPS, American stuff, but say what that thing cheated us in 2009 when they switched off entire GPS and our Brahmos missile test failed. After 2011 we have been constantly working to replace GPS with ISRO made IRNSS and hence Nirbhaya uses IRNSS positioning system.

As for present test of 2017 the missile was different both externally and Internally more visible were:

  1. Nose tip: Configured to reduce Vortex Shedding hence to reduce drag.
  2. Engine: Rumored to be Indigenous HAL-PTAE. Later to be replaced by Manik engine.

(Manik Engine)


The November 2017 missile test was crucial success but Nirbhay still has to pass at least 5-6 Successful tests before it starts reaching our Armed Forces. The Nirbhay is the last category of missiles India is struggling to get it’s records straight. Everything after this will be easier than the first attempt.


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