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SOURCE: Express News Service

After conducting successful trials of seven missiles in a month, India is all set to conduct the maiden trial of its Indigenous Technology Cruise Missile (ITCM) from a defence test facility off the Odisha coast on Monday.

A highly placed defence source on Saturday told The New Indian Express that the missile, a new version of subsonic cruise missile Nirbhay will be test fired with short turbo fan engine and an advanced radio frequency seeker.

Nirbhay missile was India’s first indigenously developed cruise missile. The weapon system that has completed six developmental trials between 2012 and 2019 was recently deployed following Chinese aggression along the line of actual control.

“The new version of Nirbhay has been fitted with advanced software and more indigenous systems, including the turbo fan engine. All the preparations for the test are in the final stage and the missile is ready for the test. The launch window has been set between Monday and Wednesday. The missile will be flight tested as per schedule if the weather favours,” the sources said.

Although the earlier version of Nirbhay has a strike range of 800 km to 1,000 km, the navigation area warning is issued for a range of around 400 km for the ICTM test.

After the take off, the missile will travel vertically for a range of around 150 km before making a steep dive and following the horizontal trajectory.

More than 200 scientists and technical officials are camping at the launch site and leaving no stone unturned for the successful trial of the missile to establish the India’s power in developing long range cruise missiles that are faster and stealthier.

While the turbo fan engine has been developed by Gas Turbine Research Establishment, the radio frequency seeker has been produced by the Research Centre Imarat.

“Since Nirbhay had failed to deliver desired results during a couple of initial phase trials, we are trading very cautiously this time. As all faults in its earlier version have been rectified and the missile is now a matured technology, we hope the ICTM will be roaring success,” said a defence scientist.

Developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the new cruise missile will supplement the Indo-Russian joint venture supersonic cruise missile BrahMos.

India had successfully test fired the extended range version of BrahMos with indigenous booster recently.

The two-stage ICTM has a length of six meters, diameter of 0.52 m, wing span 2.7 m and a launch weight of about 1.5 tonne.