The Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) of the Ministry of Defence of India started work on developing an air-launched version of the Nirbhay subsonic cruise missile to arm the Su-30MKI. According to TASS, the press service of the organization announced that – “the launch from an aircraft will take place in March-April of this year”.
According to the missile’s creators, now they are working on integrating it with the fighter jet’s systems and developing the capability of launching from low altitudes, in order to minimize its visibility to radar.
At DRDO, they noted that the Nirbhay missile can use the Su-30MKI’s existing pylons that now carry the Brahmos missile. In the future, they are also considering using the Nirbhay missile to arm the light Indian fighter jets – the Tejas, but for this, the rocket will need to be “shortened” by about 25%.
The development of the Nirbhay began in 2007. According to experts, the missile has a high degree of accuracy and a range of up to 1,500 kilometers. Until now, only two test firings from the ground have been carried out.
The first launch of the Nirbhay on March 12, 2013 was recognized as “partially successful”. The rocket flew about 250 kilometers at a speed of Mach 0.7 / 805 kilometers per hour, after which it deviated from its programed course and had to be destroyed in the air. Nevertheless, the developers claimed that the missile had performed all basic tasks.
The second launch, on October 17, 2014, went smoothly as planned, and in accordance with the design parameters. The missile maintained its flight trajectory to within ten meters of the pre-set path. In total, the Nirbhay remained airborne for 70 minutes, flying more than 1,000 kilometers.
First published in Russian by TASS.
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