India test-fires domestic nuclear-capable cruise missile

India test-fires domestic nuclear-capable cruise missile

Fri Oct 17, 2014 2:31PM GMT

India has successfully test-fired its first domestic nuclear-capable long-range cruise missile.

The missile, dubbed Nirbhay (Fearless), was blasted off from a mobile launcher at the Integrated Missile Test Range at Chandipur in the eastern state of Odisha on Friday.

The surface-to-surface missile flew a 70-minute journey and covered a distance of over one-thousand kilometers.

“We have met the target we had set for ourselves…. The entire mission performed in copy book style,” said Avinash Chander, head of India’s Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO).

The missile is equipped with a turbojet engine and small fins, which make it capable of flying at low altitudes and high maneuverability to avoid detection.

The subsonic missile can identify and strike targets in heavily populated areas with pinpoint accuracy.

The successful launch follows a failed attempt in March 2013 which had to be aborted midway after the projectile veered off course.

Military experts put Nirbhay in the same class as the United States’ Tomahawk cruise missile, which is capable of travelling over 1,000 kilometers.

With the test-fire, India joins an exclusive club, which includes the United States, Russia, France, China and Pakistan – countries that have mastered cruise missile technology development.

India already has in its arsenal the supersonic BrahMos missile and the nuclear-capable Agni-V ballistic missile with a range of more than 5,000 kilometers.

India has routinely carried out missile tests since it demonstrated nuclear weapons capability in 1998. The Indian military has been also engaged in an arms race with the Pakistani armed forces since the partition of Pakistan from India in 1947.

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