Another test of the much-touted `Nirbhay' land-attack cruise missile, designed to carry nuclear warheads to a strike range of 1,000 km, failed on Wednesday . This was the subsonic missile's fourth test since March 2013, all of which have more or less failed to achieve test parameters.
The missile had to be destroyed in mid-air after it deviated from its flight path along the coast in Bay of Bengal soon after launch from the Integrated Test Range at Balasore off the Odisha coast around noon on Wednesday.
While the missile's first test in March 2013 had completely failed, the second one was dubbed a “partial success“ in October 2014. But the third test in October 2015 and the one on Wednesday failed miserably . DRDO may have come a long way in developing ballistic missiles like the Agni series, but it continues to flounder in the field of cruise missiles.
The armed forces already have the supersonic BrahMos cruise missiles but they have been developed with the help of Russia, have a range of only 290 km as of now and carry only conventional warheads. The Nirbhay, a stealth missile in the making for almost a decade now, was meant to fulfil the armed forces' demand for nuclear-tipped land-attack cruise missiles (LACMs) versatile enough to be fired from land, air and sea. The missile was said to be a counter to Pakistan's `Babur' LACM.