|The Nirbhay DOESN’T look like this! Only an impression.|
|Tata 12×12 vehicle on which Nirbhay will be based. | Photo by Shiv Aroor|
India’s Tomahawk-like long range cruise missile Nirbhay is expected to be test-fired for the first time in July-August this year, according to the Dr V.G. Sekaran, director of the Advanced Systems Lab (ASL) at DRDO.
This will be, without a doubt, the most significant weapon test since, perhaps, the Agni-III. The Nirbhay, shrouded in secrecy for long, is understood to be a two-stage high subsonic cruise missile with loitering capabilities. Sources suggest that apart from the engine (apparently supplied by NPO Saturn), the rest of the system is fully indigenous.
Indian private sector giant Tata revealed recently that it was building the vehicle [PDF] that will be the carrier/launcher for the Nirbhay system. The Nirbhay will be based on the “indigenous high mobility, all-terrain and all-wheel drive Tata LPTA 5252-12 X12 vehicle”, developed in partnership with DRDO.