Thursday, May 17, 2012

Could This Be India's Nirbhay Cruise Missile?




Nobody knows what India's NIRBHAY subsonic cruise missile looks like. We still know close to nothing about the Nirbhay itself, save for a sparse list of tantalizing pointers that have appeared periodically, some of them maddeningly contradictory and vague.

Three senior DRDO officers have said in recent weeks that the Nirbhay will see a first test this year, perhaps as early as July-August. There have been occasions in the past when DRDO has sprung tests of brand new weapons on an unsuspecting nation (the PAD interceptor, the Shourya and to a lesser extent, Prahaar), though we've actually known about Nirbhay for many years now. It was officially acknowledged to exist in 2007, though papers that were my source material for a series on DRDO in The Indian Express in 2006 did mention a subsonic cruise vehicle in the offing.

The artist's impressions of the Nirbhay you see here (by the very talented Anurag Rana) aren't quite shots in the dark, and yet that's precisely what they are -- the Nirbhay may actually look nothing like this, and yet it might. But what the hell -- it's worth an educated shot. There is a sense that the design is a vintage one. For instance, it has been known for a while now that the design philosophy of Nirbhay draws from DRDO's operational Lakshya target drone (putting that engine on top was all me though).

So far, it had been thought (and continues to be believed) that the Nirbhay is powered by either an NPO Saturn 36MT or 37-01E small-size turbofan engine OR the HAL PTAE-7 turbojet, though The Hindu report linked above talks, weirdly, of a turbo-prop engine. Now, is that an error by the reporter, or are we missing something here? (Could he have meant a propfan engine for instance? -- that would at least make me squint less than 'turboprop') The DRDO chief has said on more than one occasion that the Nirbhay has a loitering capability. It is understood to sport a cruise speed of 0.7 Mach and a ceiling range of about 1,000-km. Reports suggest the Nirbhay is about 6-metres long and is a little over 50-cm in diameter. We also know that it is to be a multiplatform weapon, with land-launched, air-launched and sea-launched versions, and a capability to deliver 24 different warhead types. I'm not sure much more about the Nirbhay will be known until it is tested. But if it's this year, there's reason to cheer. Nothing like an all new weapon. And a cruise missile? Awesome.

And finally, the silly Tomahawk impression I did of the Nirbhay two years ago has been digested inadvertently by Wikimedia Commons, causing a series of newspapers and magazines to print pictures of my photoshopped Tomahawk (with "Nirbhay" painted on) instead of anything that's perhaps anywhere close to the real Nirbhay.

And again, the impressions above do not purport to be what the Nirbhay looks like. They're merely impressions based on certain public domain inputs (personally I hope it looks very different from this). Like everyone else, I can't wait to see what the real thing looks like.

Artist's Impressions ©Anurag Rana for Livefist

40 comments:

Ishan said...

Isnt this too big & bulky ? Much like the 70s vintage P-20 series of Missiles?

Anonymous said...

Seems inspired by the WW2 German V1 rocket !!!??!!

Sujith Gopinath said...

Great Shiv, and as always, Anurag has done a wonderful job.

Like the last paragraph about the Tomahawk stuff. I have seen this happening in many newspapers in the past...an f-18 shown in place of Rafale, showing a MiG 29 with a story about Typhoon,...

Anonymous said...

too big and bulky it's looking to be another failure in drdo list...

Anonymous said...

is this missile a guided one?

Anonymous said...

without israel help india can't make it it is israel who helped in agni 5

Cane-an said...

Hi Shiv,
I think the engine would not be on top. This will make it too big and difficult to canisterize. Canisterization is necessary for naval operation I think...
Most likely your guess about a tomahawk look alike is spot on...

Anonymous said...

I hope that the real nirbhay is very far from this. With its wings, engine and tailplane, this monster can never be launched from ship borne VLS.
It will need a Styx like huge container to be launched from a warship (INS Ranvir). To me, this looks like a 50's technology, and a result of forced copulation between a Granit and an MD 11 :o

Anonymous said...

Nics pics...thanks Shiv. But a sad news abt the Indo Russian FGFA is murmuring in media for a few days that induction in IAF has been delayed by 2 yrs in 2019.Now in October last year both AK Antony and IAF chief has said that these planes will be available in 2017.But it seems Pallam Raju told Rajya sabha that FGFA will be certified only in 2019 and series production will follow.Now i dont understand why this will take till 2019.Three PAKFA prototypes are alraedy flying with more then 100 test flights..Why it will take anithr 7 year get them??..Shiv...can u post some credible news abt the FGFA.Delay in FGFA will be a serious blow fr the IAF..

Anonymous said...

Excellent rendering. But sorry shiv, this is not even close to Nirbhay. Nirbhay will be more like Tomahawk.

Anonymous said...

Pakistani dolts think Israelis
helped in Agni-5...chinese donkeys
think Russians helped in Agni-5.

Funny, when we launched Agni-1 in
the 90s they said French helped us,
then said Germans helped us...then
US general said it was stolen US
technology....what has all this
proved so far? Except that it was
INDIA that built all these, nothing!

When all these missiles will be
raining down on chinese CPC buildings and paki donkey sheds
what will pakistan or china do?

This missile will penetrate
pakistan's pu$$y, the paki mujra
will cry first and then bleed
later.

Anonymous said...

eagerly waiting for the submarine launched nirbhay missile as the klub missiles has only the range of 300km.. But after looking at the size and shape it seems that it will be impossible to be launched from submarines even from akula or arihant.

Anonymous said...

the design should have been slim and sleek, so that it could be launched from VLS.

Anonymous said...

Looks not very impressive, but hope that this missile would be very deadly.

Anonymous said...

That's looks like a repainted V-1 !!!

Anonymous said...

So in short nothing is known about this missile and you have again given us one more fake picture of this missile.
You also wrote you will share info on arjun mk2. Please tell me you know how arjun mk2 looks like ? Nobody knows how it looks like either. There are talks that Israel helped in redesigning turret.

Anonymous said...

i am indian and i know without israeli help indian can't make nirbhay missile and agni 5 , without israeli help indian can't made any missile

Anonymous said...

@ anon 4:55 PM
no dude you are a douche who knows nothing, more like you are paki.....
Stick with your 3rd class Tomahawk copy Babur.......
http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/walk-the-talk/walk-the-talk-with-drdo-chief-vk-saraswat/230667

watch and learn.....

Sarab aka Mirza said...

Design Failed Shiv!!

More likely to be have slim pop down intake for engine + some Stealth feature or ram coating or both.

We must categories the missile like Medium or heavy, before come down to conclusion IMHO India looking Universal cruise missile for Triad.

Well good Photo painting Remind me of V2 rocket as well

Rathore said...

@10:48 am: Well if Israel helped us on Agni-5, then i reckon u would think they helped us on all the Agni series of missiles, because progressively speaking only the stages have been added on from Agni 1-5 with technical improvements of course. Just in case you also think India cannot make the next generation of missiles, consider this, India has built the PSLV series of rockets which launch satellites far in excess of 5,000 km away, and multiple satellites have also been launched in the last few launches.. these can definitely be leveraged for making true ICBM Class missiles far in excess of 10,000km range and obviously if you didnt get my PSLV analogy, we already have the MIRV capability, we don 't need anybody's help, just need 2 modify and adapt to make the payload to be warheads instead of launching satellites. While you figure this out, I suggest you pls don't doubt our capability regarding the Nirbhay missile. We, unlike your country dont rely on alms from other countries. I suggest you should use your skills in persuading your country's policy makers to not buy Chinese and North Korean junk, and paint it green. Now go slither back in your cave!

Anonymous said...

"Old Wine in New bottle"
Much better story was expected.........Disappointed

the worthy duck said...

This is where the Propfan speculation stems from. Read it in full:

Propfan engine for DRDO's Nirbhay cruise missile?

Anonymous said...

anon 10:38/36/48 is a frustrated pakistan. Israel does not have anything close to Agni-5. We launched their satellite. What are there DRDO failures you are talking about? they does not beg for weapons from china and north korea. lol

jaguar tiger said...

please give that anonymous guy a coca cola to chill. Who came up with the theory that AGNI-5 is designed with help of ISRAEL. Awesome :D
Its a replica of statement called "Looking London,talking Tokyo" :D
I mean amazing :D

jaguar tiger said...

God it seems to be a poor combination of DC-10 aircraft and F104 star fighter, same engine mount on vertical wing and same short swept wings of F-104 star fighter... :D
Mr. Shiv sorry to say but in real and today's context its not feasible in time when we are talking in terms of weight and stealthy sleek features, Pakistan's BABUR seems to be more realistic in terms of design...and one thing more ok...motor is mounted outside but how could be wings or blades are fixed, they should be folding and switchable because if not then i doubt that it can be launched from warship and submarine tubes.

Anonymous said...

i hoped there will be some new stuff in your topic ...

Mr. Ra said...

It has to be a loitering, stealthy and terrain hugging cruise missile. So it has to be complex and taking some more time.

Anonymous said...

I think Nirbhay should look like AGM-158 JASSM or AGM-129 Advanced Cruise Missile

Anonymous said...

Shivji, i see most of the comments are oriented towards sub-launched version and canisterization. But it has been mentioned even recently that fighters will also be mated with the missile. It will be extremely difficult to mate such a missile with fixed tailfin and top fan intake to a fighter, launch it safely, while keeping the stealth charecteristics of the fighter intact.
there were reports in other blogs that two versions are possible one as a target for training airdefence and other for long range nuke delivery. and what possibly you shown here is the target drone (modified lakshya) while your other impression might relate to the real cruise missile.
DRDO tries to keep a veil on its programmes and hiding the real thing by a drone. also there are efforts to utilize the till now ill fated kaveri engine in some form and possibly drdo will try to fit on to a drone (modified lakshya). while the cruise missile could be with a russian turbofan. such a theory will fit to what you explained in detail and both your impression may be valid respectively in each case.

Rohan said...

If the real missile looks anything like this we need to know who designed it so we can go give them a tight slap for living in the 1950's...what the heck, this looks like a collection of scraps from Gen 1 missile designs combined with some throwaways from WWII Nazi designs....PHAIL!!!

Anonymous said...

You r on point!

Anonymous said...

You are a paki degrading the efforts of young drdo engineers...

Anonymous said...

@rathore first of all india does not have mirv they are trying to make mirv and mirv need above first generation nuclear and lightweight warhead so mirv is far away from india with foreign help india may make mirv by 2050

Amar Singh Yadav said...

Anon @ 10:48 said "without israel help india can't make it it is israel who helped in agni 5"

It actually is a huge compliment to us. How? It shows how they perceive Indo-Us and Indo-Isael ties. They understand that ours are not just buy-sell ties but deeply strategic ones. If Chinese and Pakis think that it was US or Israel or according to some posters Russia or France, who helped in this missile development then I am only happy as it shows that they are very much aware of the new strategic alliances we are building. And if they think that we couldn't have made it then it shows that they are aware of its immaculate accuracy, deadly maneuverability and modular design which allows for simple up-gradation to much higher ranges and ofcourse MIRVs (yet to be tested).
In short, if your enemy thinks you couldn't achieve something even after you have achieved it then its the ultimate compliment.

vipulmb said...

Expected fresh-new info abt Nirbhay but nothing new in the story. Great digital art but i don't think Nirbhay will looks like this pics which you posted.

Anonymous said...

THis is DEFINATELY NOT what the Nirbhay would look like.

Rathore said...

@anon 8:33 am: Please read carefully again what i have written, i have said India has the capability to develop MIRV warheads based on the PSLV series of satellite launch vehicles and not that it has already possesses such a capability. However, to possess MIRV capability would not be such a tough ask of India, why even the next Agni-5 test planned for later this year, the MIRV capability is planned to be tested.

Anonymous said...

This one looks like the WW2 design
some of which were used by germans......
if it gonna be like this
plz at least the avionics be state of the art
or so we expect

Anonymous said...

just the one question
what is the purpose of this story..

Anonymous said...

Actually looks like a V1 and V2 fusion or like a 50s Regulus vintage. I hope it is powered by a pulse Jet ;-. Jokes apart haven't the DRDO guys seen the Turkish SOM?