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SOURCE: MANJUNATH REDDY/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

Two Postponements of Crucial Nirbhay sub-sonic cruise missile has attracted vultures in the air who are keen to see the long-delayed program doesn’t make it to the production stage and latest country to offer Indian cruise missile technology seems to have come from Americans who have offered India its latest Block IV long-range, subsonic Tomahawk cruise missile for Anti Ship and Land Attack operations.

Russians were the first to offer there famed 3M-54 Kalibr sea-launched cruise missile to Indian Navy and with reports of Land-attack variant also under development in Russia, India is likely to be offered a new export variant too in near future suggests new media reports.

India’s Problem child Nirbhay Cruise missiles have suffered more setbacks than gains in its history of over a decade and missed countless deadlines and currently is on program extension lifeline which too is unlikely to meet the set deadline. Late Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar was instrumental in breathing in the new life in the program when the program was in a mess and was suffering repeated trail failures.

In postponed trials, Nirbhay was supposed to showcase its new Manik Engine but technical glitch prevent new trials which will be tried again in next few days said another report. Due to continued delays in the development of Land-based variant of Nirbhay cruise missile, development of Warship and Submarines based variants have suffered further delays and development of Air-Launched variant too has not taken off since technologies developed for the missile system is yet to be production certified and cleared by repeated success in developmental trials.

India will need to continue supporting local program but should be ready to allow any other developmental agencies to take over the program if the current defense laboratories are unable to fix technical issues with the program. Nirbhay was last tested in 2017 and nay setbacks in 2019 will mean game over for the program thus also killing further development of variants for Indian Navy and Indian Air Force .      

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