India's indigenously built ambitious sub-sonic cruise missile Nirbhay failed to reach its target and was terminated after it deviated from its path following its maiden launch on Tuesday.
The country's first indigenously built sub-sonic missile Nirbhya launched from Integrated Test Range in Chandipur in Odisha. Priyranjan Sahu/HT
Defence scientists however claimed the test "to be a very big achievement".
The missile, with a strike range of 1000km, was launched at 11.50am from the Integrated Test Range of Defence Research Development Organisation in Chandipur, about 200km east of Bhubaneswar.
"It met all the basic mission objectives successfully," Ravi Kumar Gupta, DRDO director, told Hindustan Times.
Gupta added that after the missile travelled approximately mid-way, deviations from its intended course were observed and further flight was terminated to ensure coastal safety.
Gupta however said since it was a development flight, the main objective of the mission was not reaching the target but to prove the various crucial technologies – separation of booster motor, start up of main engine, development of wings and stabilisation of flight.
"In this all these technologies were proved in the initial stage (of the flight)," he said.
Nirbhay, developed by scientists in DRDO with latest technology for use in the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force, is one of its kinds in India, on a par with the best in its class.
The remote controlled missile can be launched from land, air and sea and is capable of flying at a very low altitude without detection by radars.
Nirbhay, claimed to compare with USA's Tomahawk, can trail a target till it hits the latter at an appropriate moment. DRDO sources said the maiden test was to be followed by more tests and modifications of the missile.