Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) chief VK Saraswat said all sub-systems of the country's first indigenous subsonic medium-range cruise missile Nirbhay (fearless) were almost in place and it would be ready by early next year. Speaking at Aero India-2011, he said: "Integration of the engine is under way."The missile with a range of 1,000 km can take to the skies from multiple launchers and will arm all the three services. Nirbhay is expected to supplement the 300-km-range supersonic BrahMos.Saraswat said an advanced version of BrahMos would be ready by 2012. The technology of the hypersonic missile called BrahMos Mark-2 or BrahMos-2 was successfully lab-tested in May 2008 at a speed of 6.5 mach. The hypersonic demonstrator vehicle will attain a level flight for a ground-to-ground test at a height of 30 km before it hits the target with a speed between seven and eight mach. The mach-8 Brahmos-2, an advanced version of the present air-launched missile, will be the country's first hypersonic cruise missile. DRDO and Russian NPO-Mash are working on a sustained flight scramjet, which will be the core element of the Mark-2 version. About a ballistic missile defence shield, Saraswat said the next AAD (advanced air defence) test will take place this month. The defence shield test had failed on March 15, 2010, but was successful later. Exo-atmospheric interceptor missile PAD (Prithvi Air Defence) will now be called PDV (Prithvi Defence Vehicle) and will intercept at an altitude of 150 km, compared to the earlier 50 km.Saraswat said, "All elements of aerospace are within our grip and India will soon be an aerospace power."

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