India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) launched a roughly 500-mile (800-km) range Nirbhay cruise missile from the nation's Odisha test facility into the Bay of Bengal — but aborted the trial minutes into the test, according to an initial report from the Hindustan Times.
India aborts cruise missile test minutes into trial
"The missile was fired at 10:30 AM [local time] from the testing facility," said a government official to the Hindustan Times. "But the missile developed a snag and the trial was aborted 8 minutes later," added the official, reports the Times.
Nirbhay marks the 10th missile fired by India's DRDO in the last 35 days, averaging one launched missile every four days. India has fast-tracked its ability to develop and deploy weapons of value during confrontational stand-offs in a response to China's troop and support-unit mobilization efforts in the East Ladakh sector.
India plans next cruise missile trial, stand-off with China
The DRDO plans to carry out another trial after a few months — which could inaugurate the missile's official introduction into the Indian military along the nation's borders, according to sources the Hindustan Times reports as familiar with the subject.
Several Nirbhay missiles were moved to the India-China border at some point before Monday's test firing.
As a subsonic missile, Nirbhay flies at roughly 0.7 Mach — and is capable of sea-skimming and terrain-hugging maneuvers to help it stay below enemy radar, avoiding detection.
Nirbhay cruise missile can 'loiter,' penetrate targets
It can also "loiter," or reposition itself mid-flight to achieve an optimal targeting vector before striking with the target. The missile is launched via a solid rocket booster from the DRDO's Advanced Systems Laboratory — which is less complex than liquid propellant.
Armed with conventional warhead missiles — which can penetrate deep into high-value targets with next-gen precision — are launched into flight from mobile platforms.
Monday's trials were carried out as part of a larger effort of DRDO's to hasten cruise missile development along the LAC to join the stand-off situation India faces with China's People's Liberation Army at several potential hotspots throughout East Ladakh.