IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


24th February, 2023 Security

Copyright infringement not intended

Context:  India has finally achieved much needed success in its indigenous technology cruise missile (ITCM) programme validating the newly developed small turbo fan engine (STFE) in a fresh test from a defence facility off Odisha coast.


About ITCM:

  • ITCM, a technology demonstrator, was tested on subsonic cruise missile Nirbhay platform from launching complex III of the integrated test range.
  • Equipped with the indigenously developed small turbo fan engine (STFE) Manik and an upgraded radio frequency seeker, the missile was test fired for a reduced range.
  • The technology demonstrator that would pave the way for a long range land attack cruise missile, which is now under development, had failed as the engine reportedly developed snags during a trial on October 28 last year.
  • So far, four tests of ITCM technology demonstrator have been conducted since 2020. While two of the tests had failed, one trial on August 11, 2021 was partially successful.

About Manik:

  • The domestic Manik engine with a thrust rating of 450 kgf has been designed and developed by Bengaluru-based Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) for cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles.
  • It is a generic twin spool engine without afterburner.

About Nirbhay:

  • Before the ITCM project, India had inducted subsonic cruise missile Nirbhay that was powered by a Russian NPO Saturn 36MT engine.
  • India is planning to develop a 1,000 km range supersonic cruise missile for land attack and a 1,500 km range naval version with the new Manik engine. 
  • Nirbhay is a long range, all-weather, subsonic cruise missile designed and developed in India by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) which is under Defence Research and Development Organisation
  • The missile can be launched from multiple platforms and is capable of carrying conventional and nuclear warheads.
  • It is currently deployed in limited numbers in Line of Actual Control (LAC) during standoff with China.[17]
  • Nirbhay is powered by a solid rocket booster for take off which is developed by Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL). Upon reaching the required velocity and height, a turbofan engine in the missile takes over for further propulsion.
  • The missile has a ring laser gyroscope (RLG) based guidance, control and navigation system.
  • It has a range of about 1500 km and is capable of delivering 24 different types of warheads depending on mission requirements between 200 and 300 kg
  • The missile is claimed to have sea-skimming and loitering capability, i.e., it can go round a target and perform several manoeuvres and then re-engage it.
  • It is also able to pick out a target and attack it among multiple targets.