New Delhi: Has India’s recent membership of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) made a difference in the indigenously designed and developed long range sub-sonic cruise missile ‘Nirbhay’?
India has to depend on indigenous technology so far because it was not a member of MTCR. This led to two failures and one partial success. The missile has recently undergone changes and Indian scientists are geared for a fourth test in December this year.
“A low-flight trial (of Nirbhaya) will be held next month. This will be followed by two more flights. Work on the air variant is on,” said Aeronautical Development Establishment Director MVKV Prasad.
India’s Defense Ministry had claimed success in some operations that the missile had performed during its last test lasting over 11 minutes.
“DRDO needs to get over the critical challenges experienced in stability of the missile in flight over long range which has led to abortion of the mission twice so far,” defense analyst Brigadier Rahul Bhonsle (retired) said.
India had sanctioned the project in 2010 with plans to complete it after three years. Later on, Government had extended the date of completion and adds extra cost to the project.
Of late, it was speculated that plans to extend the range of Indo-Russian BrahMos missile may sink the Nirbhay project.
“Technically speaking a BrahMos with extended range and Nirbhay are two separate projects by different agencies. Thus the move to extend the range of BrahMos should not impact the development of the Nirbhay. What is to be decided is do we want two sets of cruise missiles – one with a range of 600 and another 1,000 kms? Is there an operational requirement of the two categories of missiles for the armed forces and is there enough money to develop both?” asked Bhonsle.
However, the Governments wants to provide full backing to a completely indigenous project as it will give the defense planners greater autonomy in production and deployment.