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SOURCE: RAUNAK KUNDE / NEWS BEAT / IDRW.ORG

The first developmental trial of a Nirbhay cruise missile fitted with an indigenous Small Turbo Fan Engine (STFE) propulsion system developed by the Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) is expected, to take place this month. Nirbhay cruise missiles presently are powered by Russian-made NPO Saturn 36MT mini turbofan engines and DRDO plans to validate the STFE propulsion system in the upcoming test so that it enters full-scale production from 2021.

Indigenous 110 kg Small Turbo Fan Engine (STFE) has undergone 90 minutes of continuous operation at max power setting at Bangalore and was also tested at Leh at -15 degree Celsius. Nirbhay Cruise Missile has been inducted, in limited numbers due to heighten border tensions with the Chinese Army in Ladhak Standoff but, the numbers are limited and are mostly pre-production models.

The Nirbhay is a subsonic Long Range Land Attack Cruise Missile (LRLACM) that can be armed with a 200-300-kilogram warhead which can reportedly reach top speeds of 0.6-0.7 Mach and can strike land targets at a distance of up to 1,000 kilometers. DRDO plans to test a Shipborne version in 2023 and continue more tests with the indigenous STFE Propulsion System even in 2021. DRDO is also developing Air-Launched LRLACM which will be compatible with the Sukhoi-30MKI fleet which is planned to be tested also in 2023.

DRDO has kept 12-14 October 2020 as the launch window to test the Nirbhay cruise missile.

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