India Likely To Test Nirbhay Missile With Indigenous Manik Engine Today; Already Deployed In ‘Limited Numbers’ To Counter China
After conducting at least eight missile tests in five weeks, India is preparing to test-fire its Nirbhay subsonic cruise missile today.
The 1,000-kilometer range cruise missile likely to be tested today will be equipped with a “Short Turbofan Engine” or STFE, reports say.
Short Turbofan Engine
STFE, also called Manik, is an indigenous engine that the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has been working on for Nirbhay. Designed and developed by the Gas Turbine Research Establishment, STEF has been described as a 400 kilogram-force thrust class engine on the DRDO website.
The engine has been developed in collaboration with the Centre for Propulsion Technology at IIT Chennai and IIT Bombay.
In 2018, Dr S Christopher, the then Chairman of DRDO, had told Livefist that the indigenous engine will be ready in two years.
Dr Christopher had said that the new engine would be much more economical than the Russian engine (NPO Saturn 36MT mini turbofan) powering the Nirbhay missile during development trials, adding that the STEF-powered missile system “will be over 95 per cent indigenous” by the time user trials begin.
In the future, DRDO’s STFE may also power India’s Long Range Land Attack Cruise Missile, an improved version of the Nirbhay.
Missile Test Likely Today
The missile is ready for the test and preparations for it are underway.
“The launch window has been set between Monday and Wednesday. The missile will be flight tested as per schedule if the weather favours,” a report on the missile test in the New Indian Express quotes a source as saying.
A “navigation area warning...for a range of around 400 km” has been issued.
The test comes at a time when India, facing threats from China in eastern Ladakh, has conducted at least eight missile tests in five weeks.
In early September, India tested the Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle. In the last week of the month, India test-fired an indigenous anti-tank guided missile twice and launched an extended-range version of the BrahMos missile with an indigenous booster. A night-trial of Prithvi-II ballistic missile was also conducted by the Strategic Forces Command.
In the first ten days of October, India has tested the 750-km range Shaurya missile, a new anti-submarine warfare weapon called Supersonic Missile Assisted Release of Torpedo or SMART and an anti-radiation missile.
Ahead of the test likely to take place today, India has deployed the Nirbhay missile in ‘limited numbers’ to counter China along the Line of Actual Control.
India and China will hold the seventh round of military talks today.
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