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DRDO successfully tests Nirbhay cruise missile with Made-in-India Manik turbofan engine (WATCH)

India conducted a successful flight test of the Nirbhay indigenous technology cruise missile (ITCM) featuring the indigenous Manik turbofan engine. Developed by DRDO's Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), the missile demonstrated low-altitude sea-skimming flight and reliable performance of the indigenous propulsion system, marking a significant milestone in Indian defence R&D.

DRDO successfully tests Nirbhay cruise missile with Made-in-India Manik turbofan engine
First Published Apr 18, 2024, 5:39 PM IST

India on Thursday successfully flight-tested Nirbhay indigenous technology cruise missile (ITCM) for the first time with an indigenous propulsion system -- the Manik turbofan engine from the Integrated Test Range (ITR), Chandipur off the coast of Odisha. The test was conducted by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), featuring the indigenous small turbofan engine (STFE) Manik, replacing the earlier Russian engine. During the test, the DRDO said that all subsystems performed as per expectation.

The missile performance was monitored by several Range Sensors like Radar, Electro-Optical Tracking System (EOTS) and Telemetry deployed by ITR at different locations to ensure complete coverage of the flight path. The flight of the missile was also monitored from the Indian Air Force’s  Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jet. The missile followed the desired path using waypoint navigation and demonstrated very low-altitude sea-skimming flight. An official said that the successful flight test has also established the reliable performance of the indigenous propulsion system developed by Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE), Bengaluru.

The cruise missile is also equipped with advanced avionics and software to ensure better and more reliable performance. The missile is developed by Bengaluru-based DRDO laboratory Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) along with contributions from other laboratories and Indian industries.

Know about the ITCM

Based on the Nirbhay cruise missile system, the ITCM is a technology demonstrator programme to validate the capability of its indigenously developed small turbofan engines (STFEs), also known as Manik engines which have 450kgf, upgraded radio frequency (RF) seekers, and other subsystems.

The domestic Manik engine with a thrust rating of 450 kgf has been designed and developed by the Bengaluru-based Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) for cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Nirbhay missile: What You Should Know

Nirbhay is a Long-Range Subsonic Cruise Missile, which can be deployed from multiple platforms. It is capable of loitering and cruising at Mach 0.7 (subsonic) at an altitude as low as 100 meters. It can carry a nuclear warhead.

In 2020, the DRDO carried out the first test launch of the ITCM. The control room had to destroy the missile system mid-air after the test missile deviated from its predetermined path.

In the second launch also, the missile again deviated from its original path. However, the engine had performed properly. In its third launch, the missile witnessed engine malfunction.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has congratulated DRDO for the successful flight test of the ITCM and stated that the successful development of indigenous long-range subsonic cruise missiles powered by indigenous propulsion is a major milestone for Indian defence R&D.

Secretary Department of Defence R&D & Chairman DRDO Dr Samir V Kamat congratulated the entire team of DRDO on the successful conduct of the ITCM launch.

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