India’s Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) successfully test-fired the Nirbhay sub-sonic cruise missile from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Chandipur, Odisha on November 07.
According to a press release by India’s Press Information Bureau (PIB), the Nirbhay cruise missile flew for 50 minutes to a range of 647 km. The PIB’s release states, “The flight test achieved all the mission objectives completely from lift-off till the final splash.”
The Nirbhay has a strike range of up to 1,000 km. It can travel at a cruise speed of Mach 0.7 and an altitude as low as 100 m. It is a two-stage design with a length of 6 m, diameter of 0.52 m and wingspan of 2.7 m. Its gross weight is 1,500 kg. The cruise missile’s guidance suite comprises of a domestically developed and produced Ring Laser Gyroscope (RLG) with a GPS-assisted MEMS-based Inertial Navigation System (INS).
DRDO’s test is the fifth since 2013. However, three of the Nirbhay’s prior tests (in 2013, 2015 and 2016) were unsuccessful. With the Nirbhay, India’s objective is to domestically secure a cruise missile that is directly analogous to the U.S. Tomahawk and Pakistan’s Babur. The Nirbhay will complement India’s supersonic cruising Brahmos with a sub-sonic solution, which is suitable for fixed targets.
The Nirbhay will also utilize a domestically developed miniature 4.25 kN turbofan engine – designated Manik – from DRDO’s Gas Turbine Research Establishment. The Economic Times had reported that for the recent test, the Nirbhay was equipped with a miniature turbojet engine instead of a turbofan powerplant.
In early November, DRDO also successfully tested its Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW). The SAAW is a stand-off range air-to-surface glide bomb with a range of 70 km. It has a gross weight of 120 kg.
Nirbhay is unimpressive in term of speed and range comparing to similar weapons produced by US, Russia and China, it is using a domestically produced low thrust turbofan engine, which explains why. But still the fact India can produce a functional turbofan engine at all is something to be proud of (then again it is possible a turbojet engine was used instead).
1000km range is not much comparing to usually 1500+ km range of similar missiles produced by US, Russia and China, but it is still enough to strike just about anywhere in entire Pakistan.
They’ll progressively increase the range to 1500kms– at least that’s the plan. The missile in its current form can easily do 1000+kms which is decent for India as of now. There’s no doubt the range will increase progressively. In fact according to one senior scientist involved with the project, the ultimate aim is to have a cruise missile system with range close to 1500kms and capable of being fired from su-30 as well.
This is impressive in my opinion. The indians have embarked on a domestic development program with a domestic engine and sensors. They have had failures during development which is normal but they fixed those and produced an indian system. Over the years india has developed an infrastructure for turbofan, radar, avionics, and also basic electronics. India manufactures mixed signal and sensor semiconductors. Now they can increase range at their own pace, without any foreign dependency or threat of sanction, and also export a variant of this platform to other countries to take their share of the world market.
Compare this to pk babur’s entrance. No development tests, no failures, but all of a sudden a “perfect” launch. Pakistan neither has any turbojet or turbofan development infrastructure nor has ever tried working at the problem. The best ever was “overhaul” of mirage atar jet engine of 1960. Basically overhual is opening an engine, checking for cracks etc, replacing defective parts with new parts purchased from france and then closing back the engine. Even the manuals and technical info is provided by france.
There is no infrastructure for any sensor development and production.
All of a sudden babur appears and is said to be indigenous. And how many years did it take pakistan to increase range from 500 to 700 km….we all know that as well
There is a very good reason that babur or raad or H2 or H4 have not been exported….mainly bec we dont make the critical parts and the country that provides them does not allow us to export.
Turkey has exported their glide platform to the middle east. So the argument that there are some export restraint etc is not true
We should have the jigra to accept someone elses progress….and learn from them
Now, the $ 1.5 billion helicopter purchase from turkey looks more stupid than it already is.
The argument that we indigenously develop a program is all the more a neccesity. $ 1.5 billion of development and production funds can go a long way for pakistan
Compare this to JF17. It took $500 million to develop the fighter including prototypes….thats 1/3 the cost of the turkish helicopter purchase !!!!!!
Why is pakistan wasting funds instead of building indigenous infrastructure
Everything is difficult. It was difficult for india as well to start and continue these programs but they did
Pakistanis will have to “work” for a living..cannot live on transfers from xyz
Babur is actually longer than Nirbhay but it’s range is smaller, which could be a sign that it is actually using a turbojet engine, which has lower fuel efficiency, instead of turbofan engine. That would reduce the difficulty of domestically producing the engine and explain the range.
Sensors and radar development were probably helped by China.
I also think Turkish helicopter purchase is at least controversial, because it is so expensive, especially comparing to JF-17. That also means Pakistan is probably on hook for Turkish 10 ton utility helicopter as well, which is likely just as expensive.
Partnering up with China to make a Pakistan variant of Z-10 more suitable to Pakistan terrain would probably have been cheaper even than JF-17 and help Pakistan engineers to gain more experience. Although Pakistan could enter Turkish helicopter parts supply chain, but when price difference is that big, it is hard to say it is very wise. I mean how many parts do you have to sell to get back about 50% ~ 70% of $1.5 billion, which is about $800M to $1 billion. I doubt economy was the primary concern of the deal.
Turkish helicopter will be another mistake like buying F-16 Block 52 with lots of strings attached and we cannot arm them at will.
The current situation of PAK US relation will make them sitting ducks without spare parts. Had we took bold step decade ago and started turbofan engine development.we would be halfway through and could arm JF-17 with domestic engine. we could exploit max out of JF-17. Currently we are still thinking which platform to use for strike mission as JF-17 is underpowered.
Please dont give lame excuse JF-17 not meant for that or this role. Grippen has been evolved over the time.
Turbofan engine development is very difficult. Nirbhay likely using a turbojet engine showcased that difficulty again. Even just a mini turbofan engine, and even that mini turbofan engine only needs to work for few hours, still after so many years of development it is not working properly yet.
I think in light of Nirbhay, the first priority for Pakistan is to increase the range of Babur to around 1500km, and to do that, a decent domestic mini turbofan engine is the way to go (a mini turbofan engine can also have wide range of applications, like being used to power drones and small commercial jets).
If Pakistan is to start a turbofan engine program, I would suggest to start small. After all, turbofan engine is just about the most difficult thing to make.
Joseph you are mistaken in some aspects. First, India has already developed a turbofan engine of its own called the ‘Manik’. The sole reason why India chose Russian NPO Saturn 36MT turbofan engines in some of Nirbhay’s earlier trials was because Manik is underpowered in terms of dry thrust. However do note that the work is going on in full steam to launch an improved version of the Manik by the first quarter of 2018. Having said that, in earlier trials DRDO indeed had used Manik engine on atleast one occasion. As per media reports, the test which was conducted sometime in 2014 unfortunately resulted in a failure. And the result of failure was not attributed to the engine but due to a software glitch that cramped the weapon’s navigation system. Also during the trials one wing of the missile failed to deploy which resulted in its pre-mature termination. So the statement that “after so many years of development it is not working properly yet” is a bit inaccurate. As i said more than technical glitches or malfunctions, low thrust is what predominantly plagues the manik engine. And hopefully this shortcoming would be corrected in the near future.
Moreover, the length of Nirbhay hardly has anything to with the kind of engine which was used in the latest trials. It is widely speculated that the engine used in this trial was turbojet but it hasn’t been officially confirmed yet. As i said, Nirbhay has seen the use of both Turbojet and Turbofan engines in the past trials so i don’t think length is an accurate predictor of the engine used in this trial.
According to @Aviral Singh Manik has a higher thrust than India’s DRDO PTAE7 turbojet engine likely used by Nirbhay now.
Also the first several failed trials were using Manik and achieved longer range (1000+ km) and higher speed (over 0.8M), which is a good indication Manik doesn’t have the low thrust problem you mentioned.
If Manik’s reliability were not an issue then why would India ever want to use a turbojet engine resulting significant degradation of Nirbhay’s performance?
Length of cruise missile is a good indication of how much fuel it carries, which affects missile’s range. If it carries more fuel but has less range that indicates it’s fuel efficiency is in question. And one of the main differences between turbojet and turbofan engine is fuel efficiency. So what I said before was common sense.
I am not questioning the sanity behind fuel economy and the choice of engines. Read my statement again carefully before drawing conclusions. I merely said that since a platform like Nirbhay has used both Turbojet and Turbofan propulsion in the past, it is quite possible that it could have gone for any of the either this time as well, regardless of its size. One thing which anyone should be rest assured of is that it will be a turbofan engine (Manik) which will propel the production models of Nirbhay. After all India is spending crores of rupees on developing Manik specifically for use on Nirbhay. No other platform in India currently makes use of or will likely make use of Manik engine for the foreseeable future.
Second, coming to the topic of thrust, it is “COMMON SENSE” that thrust alone doesn’t mean anything. When measuring the thrust of small turbofan engines like the Manik or F107 (Tomahawk), the dry weight of the powerplant is also factored in and is equally important. For example the F107 variants used on Tomahawak cruise missiles produce a maximum thrust of 3.1 KN. But they weigh only 66.2 Kgs (dry weight) giving it a thrust to weight ratio of >4.5:1. On the other hand the Manik engine produces a maximum thrust of 4.25 KN (compared to 5 KN of the Russian turbofan) but weighs substantially more…probably more than 100 kgs. It was reported in March this year that the primary goal of GTRE is to reduce the dry weight of Manik engine to below 110 kgs to achieve the desired results. And that is what probabaly resulted in delay in employing Manik as the powerplant for this test. Looks like it still weighs more than 110 kgs making it unsuitable for use. Don’t believe me, then you don’t have to! Here is the link to two credible news sources which confirm the same:
Also do note that PTAE7 is a much smaller and cheaper engine used for powering aerial target drones for missile tests. The dry thrust in terms of kilogram-force( Kgf) produced by PTAE7 is less than 400 Kgf, for Manik it is 425 and for the Russian 36MT it is around 500 kgf.
Rightly put. Just to add to the above information, the NPO Saturn 36MT has a dry weight of 82 Kgs but produces a thrust of 500 KgF (as you also pointed out). This again made it more beneficial to use over Manik in the past trials as it produces a much higher thrust-to-weight ratio than the manik engine (Dry thrust 425 Kgf; weight >110 kgs). Because of the low thrust to weight ratio which Manik earlier had to offer, it might be falling short of achieving the set minimum range of Nirbhay cruise missile which i am guessing is set to a minimum of 1500 kms. The reason why India is stressing so much in producing engines of such high dry thrust could only be explained by their desire to achieve a high operational range for the cruise missile. Heck, even the F107 powerplant used in Tomahawk cruise missiles produces a maximum thrust of 3.1 KN compared to 4.25 KN of manik’s, but the former still has a strike range of more than 1100 Nautical Miles (>2000 kms).
No matter what we wish, Pakistan simply doesn’t have the kind of research culture to under take such a project. Pakistan would most likely source it directly from either China or Ukraine.
I agree, Pakistan govt has to take step in this direction. Otherwise after 10 years we will still be discussing same thing.
Indeed an emphasized comment and most needy , locally designed and produced engine could be a breathtaking step in the thin skin enviornment and will open new doors PAF has technical know how and basic struture do so .
Very true Salman.
The biggest problem is absolutely non existent transparency in all Pak Arms projects, the Nation Never gets to know what, when, why, for how much was something bought or (if) developed..
This is same as the deals politicians do, for eg : LNG deal with Qatar or CPEC with China, they call them “secret agreements”.
Its a pitty to be honest, all such deals generate suspicion of under the table benefits, specially when the past is riddled with such incidents.
One such deal for me is this 1.5 billion! $ for 30 T129s. They say all of this is for immense offset benefits. Majority of the Nation has No idea of how long will they have to bear the cost for such secret agreements.
I had asked earlier on this forum whether competitive bidding was ever done in Pakistan for defense purchases. Got no response. I therefore deduced that the concept doesn’t exist in Pakistan. If that is true, then the decision makers are laughing all the way to the bank.
Competitive bidding has its faults (as in long drawn out procedures) and is no guarantee against corruption but at least there’s a modicum of transparency
It’s generally there for small items (i.e. for which Pakistan has cash), but for big-ticket items, aspects such as credit and loans basically limit the potential bidders to one or two (i.e. U.S. and/or China), which is further narrowed to approved vendors and products . The one time there was an actual bid was for submarines in the mid-2000s, in which TKMS won with the Type 214. But that entire deal fell through after 2009.
You mean, every single big ticket defense item bought by Pakistan is on credit/ loans? 🙄
And no questioning the decision?
BIG money to be made there!
Some have to be on cash, e.g. the new-built F-16s (but in tranches/installments), but Pakistan tends to lose its leverage to bid whenever it approaches the matter with loan/credit requests. That said, if there’s questioning, it’s from within government and the armed forces, e.g. the M2K deals of the 1990s were scuttled due to internal pressures re: cost overruns and corruption allegations.
The operative words being, of course, ‘if there’s questioning’
The current range is 1300km. The eventual aim is to go upto 2000km
US,Russia and China are light years ahead of India in having a defense industry. Even making a functional missile is big achievement for India, forget about matching the big three weapon importer nations
it is a pity the Indian media did not cover it this as they should have and instead chose to keep up their asinine behavior. Your professionalism is praiseworthy Bilal. hope all folks at quwa are doing well.
the best part about the whole development story is that India has the heart and courage to accept failures (3 out of 5 times) during the course. its a sign of a real development and R&D effort, where failure is very much part of the story. its very opposite to some other development programs or rather paint jobs, where every launch is a success and missiles are inducted before tests and after 1st launch test.
That’s because other countries don’t feel the need to stand on top of a building beating a drum and shouting how “we develop indigenous” while miserably failing at the same time and seeking help from foreign sources under the guise of “consultancy”. For deterrence and to demonstrate capability, a few publically demonstrated tests are all that’s needed to keep those quiet across the border.
its not “other countries”, its simply a single country “a science and R&D superpower”, who can manufacture missiles but not indigenous automobile, who can develop a fighter aircraft without developing a single sub system in that aircraft or develop a nuclear bomb without being able to develop a high capacity power generator… and the list is fairly big.
for the rest of all countries, new development takes time and they learn from failures an experiences..
Don’t forget, said country also developed technology which made it possible for cars to run on water! Endorsed by their nuclear scientists too
buddy your thinking on Pakistan is very out dated …these days countries like Syria and Yemen can produce ballistic missile
Both Manik and Russian engines used earlier are turbofan engines. Looks like DRDO dumped Russian engines for unknown reason and decided to go forward with Turbojet engine before indigenous Manik engine starts flying from next year. I think the turbojet engine used was DRDO PTAE7 turbojet engine which was developed in 80s and 90s for jet power UAV PTA Lakshya. It generats 3.73 Kn thrust which is enough to power Nirbhay missile. Turbojet engine are inefficient for subsonic flights and therefore DRDO will finally move forward with Manik turbofan which can generate 4.2 Kn thrust. Looks like use of turbojet engine is the cause behind reduced range and speed as compared to 1050km range and 0.8-0.9 Mach speed achieved in 2014 test.
I don’t think there will be back to back tests in next two days as many speculate. NAVAREA warning was issued for only one test and was withdrawn hour after the test.DRDO will have to issue fresh warnings if they want to conduct another test.
Hey guy can you tell me why is India wasting money on sub Sonic missile when they already have operational supersonic brahmos missile ?
Brahmos cannot carry strategic nuclear warheads, Nirbhay can. Also Brahmos range is max 450km whereas Nirbhay can go upto 1500km.
After india joined the MTCR, the officials are working to increase the range from the current 450 kms to more than 650 kms, which was widely reported in the Indian press. Also BrahMos CAN indeed carry a small nuclear warhead.
But that is not the primary purpose of a missile like BrahMos. BrahMos I, with a speed of 4.5 Mach is meant to take out strategically important targets with pin point accuracy and nearly 100% efficiency. When i say efficiency i mean BrahMos flying at supersonic speeds has no effective deterrence in the form of anti-ballistic missile systems which can counter a missile flying at 4-5 times the speed of sound. Americans still have to come up with an operational supersonic missile and had expressed serious concern about Russia racing ahead of US in this technology. Moreover, the US defense blog ‘National Interest’ had quoted one US general saying that such Russian supersonic missiles are very hard to track and defeat even with the latest missile defense systems such as the THAAD and PAC-3 which the US fields in large numbers.
Moreover taking cue from the Russian Zircon hypersonic missiles, India and Russia are jointly working to produce the BrahMos II with speeds upto 7 mach. A weapon like that could potentially change the doctrines of war fighting.
P.S. Some policymakers in the US have advocated that Hypersonic missile projects like BrahMos II, Zircon be terminated and their proliferation be restricted. Because these kinds of missiles have no effective counter at present. They opined that these missiles render the ballistic missile shields obsolete, and consequently lower the threshold for nuclear missile attacks.
Do you really think the West or even China for that matter with it’s huge scientific base and massive MIC will fail to come up with a similar or even better weapon, and will never develop a counter. Honestly your day dreams have gone beyond funny! American ships are defended by SM family and RIM family and European ships by Aster family, not the missiles you erroneously mention. Also last I checked you were begging the Americans not the Russians for weapons…
Ironic. You people talking of begging 🙂
No no, our “taller” iron brothers offer weapons all the time. We are the ones who refuse. The Americans are just backstabbers that you guys will discover soon! Just do a big front line aircraft buy and see the fun and games begin. Lol
The unit cost of each BrahMos missile is around $ 3.5 million USD. Compared to Nirbhay sub-sonic missile which would be substantially cheaper once it enters mass scale production. Now for targets such as terrorist camps across the border, military outposts, army headquarters etc., which have low strategic significance and lack any effective measures to counter the missile, a much cheaper Nirbhay will be used rather than the $ 3.5 million USD BrahMos. BrahMos on the other hand will be used against targets of much higher significance such as the Command & Control nodes, Early warning radar sites, Nuclear installations, air bases, aircraft carriers and other High Value Targets which are likely to be heavily defended.
The whole idea behind the cruise missile project was to come up with a high end, highly capable but costly BrahMos and a cheaper, much more expendable alternative like the Nirbhay which is better suited for targeting low value assets.
follow the timeline of the Nirbhay test and compare that to India’s inclusion in MTCR (27 June 2016) and you will be able to come out your hallucination about your biases against india.
meanwhile, i am still wonder how Pakistan “develops” all those missiles, fighter crafts and Nukes, even without having a proper cottage industry in place ..
The stark sense of insecurity in the minds of some Pakistani citizens is too hard to miss. I am amused at your statement. I merely said and i quote “terrorist camps across the border” without explicitly mentioning Pakistan anywhere. But still such threats of retaliation. After all Pakistan is not the only country with which India shares its territorial border with.
What made you think that i was specifically referring to Pakistan when i used the term “terrorist camps across the border”? Or do you, somewhere deep down secretly affirm to the fact that the term “terrorist camp across the border” automatically means Pakistan?
Look mate, nobody here is stupid. Your implication is obvious and plain as daylight to see for everyone. Stop playing mind games. It does not make you clever. Oh I forgot; ahmria’s comment “proves” we have terrorist training camps…there, it’s been said, so please celebrate, and run to your new best friends the Americans with more “proof”. As if Pakistan or Pakistanis care lol.
If that floats your boat, then suit yourself. After all such comments are quite indicative of the frustration emanating due to the fact that India is racing ahead in both technology and foreign relations whereas Pakistan has nothing in terms of either indigenous technology or some quality foreign assistance. Like it or not, either way it is an Indian victory. You are damn right, after 70 years of independence for both countries, it is India which the west is increasingly looking to partner with for joint projects and transfer some high end technology instead of its neighbor. If that is due to India’s economic might (and rightly so) then do take into account that much smaller countries (than Pakistan) like Israel and Singapore, who became independent about the same time as Ind/Pak currently have a bigger GDP than the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Heck, even the smaller countries like Indonesia and Malaysia with a much smaller defense budget than Pakistan have a more modern and better equipped military than Pakistan’s. As was reported in Quwa a few days back, Indonesia is even producing naval warships indigenously in collaboration with foreign companies. I wonder why only Pakistan is being ignored by the west. Sorry to say but when the truth is as harsh as this, it might come across as taunts.
Moreover you have some real talent of day dreaming. I challenge you to come up with facts and credible sources which could indicate that Nirbhay indeed is not Indian and heavily uses foreign components. Or was this just out of frustration?
As usual, every argument you’ve made could be turned against Pakistan.
The MTCR argument is typical Pakistani case of sour grapes. After all, given its track record, Pakistan isn’t getting admission into any group anytime soon.
As regards ‘balancing’, it’s what Pakistan has benefited from its higher than mountains, deeper than oceans friend all these past decades. Else why would China want to prop up a state like Pakistan?
So once again we have the stereotypical Pakistani argument that ‘when we do it, good for us. But we reserve the right to whine when India does it’.
And look who’s talking of taunts!
“Higher than mountains, deeper than oceans friendship” What a joke !!! All China does is sell sub-standard defense hardware to its “ally” Pakistan. Perpetually milking it of cash and a proxy against India. Where are all the J series of twin engine aircraft in the PAF which are much more potent than the JF-17? Where are state of the art Chinese warships and type -99 main battle tanks in Pakistan’s arsenal which China boasts of? All these are deliberately kept out of export list even for a “brotherly” country like Pakistan. What kind of domestic defense infrastructure has Pakistan ever established with the help of China even though they have had such close relations since decades? Even for a mere assault rifle, Pakistan has to look towards west (and not China) to establish a firearm industry.
I mean we might not boast of our relationship with Russia, France and Israel as “higher than mountains or deeper than oceans” but still we have gained a lot of technology and expertise along with some of their latest defense equipment.
Yes, our “taller” friends along with our brothers the Ottomans have helped arm us to the teeth to keep your much larger forces at bay, and have effectively kept you out of NSG and stopped a certain bearded gentleman from being declared a person who is not very nice! Just watch while we induct J-31/TFX. That’s despite the best display of worldwide hugging by hugger-in-chief hahaha! I would not be ridiculing the “taller” relationship if I were you. Good luck with “isolating” the Fortress of Islam!
Has J-31 been offered to Pakistan. Can you please show me some proof. TFX hasn’t been even developed. If you go by that sense then India will have FGFA earlier than Pakista. And when countries like USA and Russia have problems developing a proper 5th gen aircraft, then how is Turkey supposed to develop one in a single try even though they have not even developed a 4th gen fighter. Even their relations and access to NATO can’t guarantee them. I’m not saying that they can’t develop but rather I’m saying that they will take much longer time than you think. And meanwhile has Pakistan ever bought and maintained a 2 engine fighter. If yes then I would like to know it’s name.
Except, there aren’t any camps to target the other side of the LoC
Been away so back after a while. Nice to see nothing has changed. General estatic celebrations on the part of the Indians after a rather average prototype is displayed, which we don’t have a problem with. However mixing it with a liberal dose of denigrating and ridiculing Pakistan as Indians just can’t help doing, we do have a problem with. Can see the usual culprits plus some new ones. Displays of such small mindedness and hatred are just typical. Can see plenty of verbal gymnastics and mind games, and attempts to create a false narrative about Pakistan and Pakistanis. Also day dreams presented as established facts. After every average development they start daydreaming about destroying Pakistan a la “surgical strikes”! Why can’t they just remain neutral and factual?
Nothing’s changed, ‘Steve’. The same amount of whining by you people accompanies any such news on India. The usual bilge on how the event was
a) not developed by India
b) only a ‘rather average prototype’
c) irrelevant, as you people have ‘better’ stuff
d) irrelevant, as you people have ‘better’ friends
e) all of the above
As far as denigrating and ridiculing goes, surely you’ve observed on this forum how this is a two way street, with you in particular leading your pack. Sounding all holier than thou doesn’t sit well with you, ‘Steve’. Try following your own advice and being ‘neutral and factual’ for a change
Welcome back mr headstrong. I thought you may have succumbed to the toxic Delhi smog and was praying for your survival. I think we can all agree that both sides are doing it. One remembers nuclear tests, JF-17, MIRV, naval Babur etc etc. Equal-equal as your countrymen say and which you are forever stuck with wrt Pakistan! You have to admit your ‘indigenous’ missile is rather mediocre. All in the interest of being factual. I agree with b to e of your list. Jury is still out on a, as significant tech transfer would have resulted in a better product. Hahaha 😉
Terrorist camps are also there across the Myanmar border. Rolexer didn’t specify the border. He just said across the border. So don’t worry and just chill out.