Nirbhay Missile Can Be Developed Like Naval Strike Missile Of Norway


We have often heard that Nirbhay missile is as important to Indian Armed Forces as Brahmos. Brahmos is a Hypersonic missile which gives the enemy little time to react. Its lethality is unquestionable. But to tackle moving targets which change their position quickly, we need a subsonic missile also. It is not the case that Brahmos cannot hit moving targets or redirect its trajectory. But Nirbhay being slower, we can redirect it even at the very last moment. For instance, assume a scenario where a target moves from one window to the other. Nirbhay can loiter for sometime in the air and then hit another window. The second scenario can be the sudden appearance of women and children around the target. We need to divert the missile in this case. Nirbhay can be controlled even in this case at the last moment. So any collateral damage can be lessened. Indeed it would be very advantageous to possess a tactical weapon like Nirbhay. So to say, if Brahmos is Brahmastra, Nirbhay can also prove to be Vijaya Dhanush of Lord Indra. A few days back when I pointed out to a Russian about a US-Norway subsonic missile, he was quickly on the offensive. This is because Russians are smitten with speed. They have taken a lead in the development of Hypersonic weapons. There is a general belief that anything faster is always better than slower weapons. But in a hoard to go faster, other tricks of the trade, such as ‘stealth’, have been forgotten. We are oblivious to the fact that when a hypersonic missile passes through the atmosphere, it generates a lot of heat. So it gives itself away to the infrared seekers of the enemy. Though being fast it gives little reaction time to the enemy but the other harsh reality is that it gets detected easily. It is exactly here where Naval Strike Missile – a recently inducted subsonic missile of US Navy-comes very handy. Nirbhay Missile with its stealth and maneuverability can prove to be India’s NSM.

Let us know about NSM. It will be easier then to understand what are our expectations from the Project Nirbhay.



In the mid-2000s, the Royal Norwegian Navy was looking to select a new anti-ship missile (ASM) to equip their ships. They looked at all foreign offerings, didn’t find any missile satisfactory, and instead drew up their own set of requirements. The requirements were: to meet the challenges of a future (up to 2040) ship-to-ship combat environment; to have a high probability of penetrating enemy air defense and countermeasures; to be effective in confined and open waters, and to be easily adaptable to different platforms.

From these requirements, Kongsberg Defense drew up the NSM, or Nytt sjømålsmissil. The name “Naval Strike Missile” was only attached later for English marketing purposes. The philosophy behind the design was to create a subsonic, small, agile missile that would be hard to observe, as opposed to a larger, supersonic missile.


or reference, the NSM is only four-meters long. This is half the length of the Russian P-800 and P-700 missiles.
The Russian missiles also use active radar homing in the terminal phase. This can alert a ship that it is being targeted. In contrast, the NSM uses a passive infrared (IR) sensor to home in on its target. Passive IR seeker technology for ASMs was pioneered by Kongsberg on the earlier Penguin anti-ship missile

In addition to each individual missile being low observable and agile to avoid shipborne anti-missile defenses, the NSM is designed to work with an advanced mission planning system. This system leverages the strengths of the NSM (the agility, terrain following flight and low altitude) to create precise attack plans with multiple missiles arriving on the same target at the same time. Such saturation attacks are very hard to defend against.
The terminal accuracy of the NSM is said to be less than two feet from the aim point to the impact point, so specific systems and areas on a ship can be incorporated into these attack plans to achieve desired disabling results. Another selling point of the NSM is its ability to recognize a ship’s class through the seeker. This ability is called autonomous target recognition (ATR). It allows the missile to engage the correct aim point for maximum damage and provide intelligence to the launching ship.
Upon hitting the target, the effect of the NSM is determined by the programmable fuze. It can be programmed to detonate after penetration, allowing the titanium warhead casing to burrow into a target for maximum damage. There is also a steel grid within the warhead casing, to create a fragmentation effect for additional damage


While the missile itself is very lethal, the other half of the NSM’s success in the European export market is its ability to be adapted to a wide variety of platforms. In Norwegian service, the NSM is mounted on Skjold-class corvettes, which are very small ships. In Polish service, the NSM is mounted on heavy trucks. Raytheon has also mounted the NSM on the Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT) in demonstrations for the U.S. Military. The small profile of the launchers for NSM allows for a military to easily integrate the missile onto their existing truck fleet.
The NSM is being considered for the Over-the-Horizon Weapon System (OTH-WS) competition, to replace the aging Harpoon—which is being phased out. It’s uncertain whether NSM will be mounted on a deck mount like Harpoon, or packed inside a vertical launching system. Current visualizations


The NSM has also been adapted into the joint strike missile (JSM), an air-launched cruise missile system designed to fit inside the internal weapons bay of the F-35. The NSM’s chassis is slightly reconfigured for this purpose, but the seeker and engine largely remain the same. While the NSM has been operationally fielded since 2012, the JSM is not yet ready for service.

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