Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) developed India’s first Long range Sub-sonic cruise missiles after making a flawless test flight last year from a Truck based Mobile launcher is all set to expand its launch platforms in future.

Nirbhay which means fearless will be operated by Tri services of the Indian armed forces opening up multiple tactical options for military operations in foreseeable future. 8-metre long-range cruise missile (LCAM) developed on the operational profile of American Tomahawk and Russian kH-55 cruise missiles will be part of larger Sub-sonic cruise missile family designed to be operationalised from multiple launch platforms.

Nirbhay in its last test flight flew for over one hour at a distance of more than 1000 km and covered 16 waypoints while maintaining an accuracy of 10 m throughout its flight time. Missile at final stage even demonstrated steep dive capability before taking out its targets. ADE is now working on adding a seeker for terminal guidance to achieve Circular Error Probability (CEP) of 1-2 meters in future tests.

Navy and DRDO have agreed to have the first developmental flight of Naval Variant of Nirbhay cruise missile in 2018 which will be launched from an Indian Naval ship. A vertical launching system (VLS) for holding and firing Nirbhay cruise missiles from mobile naval platforms is under development and will feature ” Hot Launch ” vertical launch system which require lesser developmental time. The missile itself will not require any major hardware changes but will require new software block for use from naval ships.

ADE is also working on Airforce variant which can be used from same BrahMos ALCM Launcher which will enable the air force to use Nirbhay ALCM minus its Solid-propellant booster from 42 Specially modified Su-30MKI aircrafts. ADE also has plans to develop Smaller ALCM based on Nirbhay which will be shorter in length by 25 % also has reduced range but can be integrated on other air force fighter jets without any special modification to the airframe .

DRDO has taken up the task to introduce Anti-radiation seeker in future to further complicate air defense mechanism of enemy forces. Nirbhay which is Capable of flying at a tree-top altitude for over 1,000 km and can stay 5meters below ground-based radar observation coverage will play a crucial role in “cold start” offensive doctrine put forward by Indian military planners for use in a possible war with Pakistan.

Nirbhay missile is intended to form a base upon which many variants will be developed in future establishing India’s Cruise missile family. Nirbhay which was born out of India armies requirement  will serve Tri-services and India also plans to develop more powerful sub-sonic cruise missiles with longer range in future and also carry out incremental Block upgrades to existing systems to further open up missiles potentials.