Saturday, November 15, 2008

Nirbhay UAV Detailed


Under a fast-track project that forms an integral part of India’s efforts to develop a credible cruise missile defence system, the Defence Research & Development Organisation’s (DRDO) ADE and ASL laboratories are co-developing an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) called Nirbhay (fearless) that will be both air-launched and ship-launched. Believed to have been launched in late 2005, the project calls for the UAV to be developed as both a high-speed target drone capable of simulating the flight profiles of land-attack/anti-ship cruise missiles like China’s DH-10A and Pakistan’s Babur, as well as sea-skimming anti-ship missiles like the A/RGM-84A Harpoon and C-802A, both of which are operational with the Pakistan Navy. In addition, a ground-launched conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant of the Nirbhay is also envisaged—this being a high-speed, medium-altitude vehicle equipped with a 130kg payload for standoff, theatre-level reconnaissance—in response to a specific air staff requirement of the Indian Air Force (IAF).

To be powered by a NPO Saturn-supplied 36MT turbofan rated at 400kg thrust, the Nirbhay’s target drone variant will be capable of cruising at a speed of Mach 0.92 at medium altitudes (10,000 feet) and 1,100kph at sea level, have a flight endurance of two hours, will sea-skim at 10 metres above sea level, will be able to pull up to 6.5 G, be equipped with a 130kg payload (of up to 24 different types such as towed radar/infra-red reflector/augmentation devices, EW jammers and hit-scorer avionics), and will have a digital flight management system that will enable the drone to undertake various flight manoeuvres like snaking, pop-up and a 40-degree dive. The ship-launched variant of Nirbhay will be equipped with twin solid-propellant boosters that will be ejected once the drone is airborne, while for the IAF, it will be configured for launch from an IL-76MD transport aircraft. For recovery purposes, both variants of the drone will be equipped with parachutes and inflatable air-bags. The drone will have a maximum takeoff weight of 650kg (minus the twin boosters), overall length of 5.5 metres, wingspan of 2.5 metres, and a fuselage diameter of 0.40 metres. The Nirbhay’s theatre reconnaissance CTOL-UAV variant for the IAF will be equipped with an X-band inverse synthetic aperture radar (most likely the EL/M-20600 from ELTA Systems of Israel), a wideband two-way data link, and a ring laser gyro-based inertial navigation system coupled to a GPS receiver. Maiden flight of the drone’s first prototype is scheduled for early 2009, while its CTOL-UAV variant is expected to fly later the same year. Present plans call for procuring up to 80 drones and 30 UAVs. Series production of the Nirbhay will be undertaken by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, while the 36MT turbofans will be procured off-the-shelf from NPO Saturn. In October 2006, NPO Saturn had inked a US$100 million contract with the DRDO under which the latter will deliver, starting this December, a total of 200 36MT turbofans through to 2010.--Prasun K. Sengupta

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

"In October 2006, NPO Saturn had inked a US$100 contract with the DRDO..."

US$100? can i also go into a contract with NPO? I will offer $200.

Anonymous said...

pls comment about that nirbhay picture.

Sontu said...

To Anon@9:26 AM,

Looks a shift from a regular MALE/HALE design
1. Normally the engine will be mounted in the rear and the weight will be counterd by adding Eloctronic/Optical Pod in the fron bulged section..where as we see that Nirbhay has a engine mounted in the center and all sensors are integrated as part of the forward body.
2. The pointed and uniform barrel structure will make this UAV will be able to achieve higher speed and that too with greatly controlld flight.
3. The problem is this design can not be utilized for any high endurance/range UAV ..normally used for Recce role.

Regards,

Anonymous said...

1. Is the rated speed sufficient?

2. IF that pic is to be trusted,this things seems to be incorporating every ANTI-stealth contour imaginable. Think it will light up on the enemy radar like a 1000W bulb

Anonymous said...

the guy tried to make me look like a fool. actually he missed out the million earlier

i am anonymous Saturday, November 15, 2008 9:26:00 AM

Sontu said...

Prasun,
Please clarify if the Nirbhay was supposed to be a Tomahawk like Subsonic Cruise missile with 1000-1500 KM range? Wasn't it ?
Now your report says it to be a UAV or rather a drone ?
The specs are perfect for a very high class Cruise Missile.
Is this Forces/DRDO tactics to hide the actual intension and announce it later to be a high Subsonic Cruise Missile ?

Bit confued ..could you please clarify?

Regards,

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@11:25AM: Nobody's labelling you or making you look like a fool, so relax and don't call yourself a fool. I just corrected a typo error that you brought to my attention.

To Sontu: The Nirbhay will NEVER be an operational cruise missile for the simple reason that it is powered by a Russia-supplied turbofan. Consequently, Russia will NEVER allow India to develop any weapon system which contains Russia-origin systems/sub-systems and which exceeds the range limitations as specified by the MTCR. If Russia allowed India to develop cruise missiles incorporating Russia-origin components, then it would be in direct violation of its NPT and MTCR obligations. Therefore, the Nirbhay will be unarmed, will not carry any weapons-related explosive materials on board, and will be used primarily as a UAV used for simulating the flight profile of a cruise missile. The ASL anf the LRDE will utilise the Nirbhay for evolving a ground-based cruise missile defence system, comprising both surveillance/early warning component (including aerostat-borne AESA radars) and a missile-based interception component.

Sontu said...

Thanks Prasun for clarification.

So it's only the Turbo engine that's limiting this UAv/Drone not to become a armed Cruise Missile in the future..Now my question is ..is it really dificult to develope same class Turbofan with India's own capability by next 2-3 yrs time and then integrate that engine with this system to make it a good Cruise Missile..?

Regards,

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Not just the turbofan, but also the overdue GAGAN regional GPS navigation satellite constellation, and the on-board autopilot. I'm quite surprised that the GTRE, which is developing the much bigger and more complex Kaveri turbofan, could not have developed a much smaller and less complex turbofan like the 36MT over the past decade. But when it comes to developing subsonic long-range cruise missiles carrying nuclear warheads (like the Babur), the Indian Strategic Forces Command has rejecetd this option and instead prefers supersonic missiles like the ADM.

Anonymous said...

GAGAN is not a regional GPS navigation satellite constellation, it is a Satellite Based Augmentation System.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GPS_Aided_Geo_Augmented_Navigation

Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS) is the regional GPS navigation satellite constellation

Prasun K Sengupta said...

You're right. Additional data on GAGAN is available at: http://www.frontlineonnet.com/fl2518/stories/20080912251811400.htm

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Further data on the IRNSS can be found at: http://www.mycoordinates.org/india-heads-for-regionalnavigation.november-2006.php

Also try: http://www.hindu.com/2006/07/06/stories/2006070605180700.htm

SpectraTime, a company of the Orolia group, has won a contract valued at approximately €4 million to supply Rubidium Space Clocks to the Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS). The principle of navigation by satellite is based on the transmission of signals coming from at least four satellites to the users. To get very precise location data, these signals must be perfectly synchronized. The extremely precise measurement of time on board each satellite, achieved through embarked atomic clocks, is thus a central condition for the positioning performance of the system. In the framework of the IRNSS program, each satellite will have four SpectraTime Rubidium atomic clocks on board to reach a stability of less than 10 billionths of a second per day.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Hello, Macha. Happy now?

Anonymous said...

Isn’t it the exactly same article which was published in FORCE's aug 07 edition?

Anonymous said...

I have a question that might appear silly. But I'm really curious to know the answer.
The Nirbhay will be a drone that will simulate the flight of cruise missiles. The drone will serve as the target for our missiles like Aakash and its future variants so that we can build and test a missile defence system in real life conditions. Now my question is if are buying the engine from Russia at millions of dollars, developing a costly guidance system and other components for this drone which is only going to be destroyed by our interceptor missiles, isn't it a big waste of money. Aren't there any othe cheap ways to simulate an incoming cruise missile.
For example, these days the entire air defence system is controlled by computers. so why can't we simulate the flight path of an imaginary cruise missile, program the computers in such way that the search radars will detect and calculate the path of the imaginary missile and then fire the interceptor alone to see whether the interceptor missile and the imaginary missile cross paths and therefore destroy each other.
I think this is the way NORAD was conducting training exercises during the cold war by making their early warning radars show false missile attacks on the US.

Anonymous said...

yup macha.. rombha nandri for publishing this article just 12 hours after my request... appreciate it....

but macha, if this is a uav and not cruise missile how will it be able to be like China’s DH-10A and Pakistan’s Babur, as well as sea-skimming anti-ship missiles like the A/RGM-84A Harpoon and C-802A, like u said? How can a uav carry warheads?

Anyway what engine does Babur or Chinese missile use? is it this Saturn engine also?

Anonymous said...

is GAGAN superior to BeiDou or Galelio?

Anonymous said...

is dat exactly how nirbhay will look like?

123456 said...

wiki says raytheon is bidding to build the system. doesnt isro got the capability to build a system like that prasun?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@9:51PM: Not exactly, as the FORCE article had also detailed the Pakistani R & D effort on the Babur LACM and Ra'ad ALCM.

To Anon@2:55AM: That's not entirely true. You still need real-life surrogate targets to realistically simulate LACM/ALCM threats. That's why till this day the US Navy uses the MBDA-built Otomat Mk2 anti-ship cruise missiles for testing the gunnery/firing proficiency of its Vulcan Phalanx and RAM CIWS. The navigation-and-guidance system of the Nirbhay is not that expensive as it was originally developed for the BrahMos and is already in series production. The Akash SAM at the moment is optmised for intercepting only hostile manned airborne platforms, and not LACMs/ALCMs. For cruise missile defence use will be made of the ground-launched variant of the Barak-8 LR-SAM, with early warning to be provided by the aerostat-mounted EL/M-2083 AESA radars.

Macha, for countering the LACM/ALCM threats from China and Pakistan, the DRDO is developing the ADM, which by the way will also be developed as a submarine-launched variant. The Babur and DH-10A LACMs use a turbojet similar to that used by the C-602 anti-ship cruise missile, which I highlighted in one of my earlier posts (with photos).

To: 123456: Raytheon is involved in the GAGAN project, but not for the IRNSS.

123456 said...

yes, thats y i ask doesnt isro got the capability to build GAGAN?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

It is not an issue about ISRO building GAGAN, as the GAGAN is based on the existing GNSS network that is already operational under an ICAO mandate, using both the US Navstar and Russian GLONASS and soon the European Galileo GPS satellite constellations. Once the IRNSS and Beidou constellation of GPS navigation satellites become operational, GAGAN will have enhanced capabilities.

Anonymous said...

prasun sengupta when will irnss be ready for usage?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Further data on the IRNSS satellite constellation can be found at: http://www.mycoordinates.org/india-heads-for-regionalnavigation.november-2006.php

Anonymous said...

dat is nov 2006 article wewant latest update

Max said...

So essentially Nirbhay is an anti cruise missile system.

@Prasun,

How about that rendering? Is it the final design?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Nirbhay is not an anti-cruise missile system as such, but it will be used by the DRDO for developing an anti-cruise missile air defence system. Nirbhay will be strictly a UAV target drone to eventually replace the Lakshya PTA which has several shortcomings and both the IAF and Army would like to dump it ASAP. The photo of the Nirbhay is its definitive design. The IAF also plans to deploy the Nirbhay as a reconnaissance UAV.

Anonymous said...

nirbay = reconnaissance UAV for iaf

will it be on the same footing like predator mq1/?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

No it won't. Being turbofan-powered the Nirbhay will be cruising at much higher altitudes and greater speeds than the Predator/Reaper. Thus, the Nirbhay will be a high-speed recce UAV, which the Predator/Reaper are not. But, unlike the Predator/Reaper, the Nirbhay will be totally unarmed. It won't carry any weapons on-board. One must also note that the Predators and Reapers cannot cruise at high altitudes and quite a few were lost earlier in 2002-2003 due to icing problems and heavy cross-winds at higher altitudes. The Nirbhay, for instance, will have none of these drawbacks when it comes to conducting surveillance missions over the Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges at altitudes above 22,000 feet. Presentlty, even the turboprop-powered UAVs like the Heron TP have problems cruising at such high altitudes and cross-winds of 5 Knots is enough to make them crash. The Nirbhay will overcome all these problems.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Macha, I hope you're absorbing all of the above data.

Anonymous said...

i m absorbing it like a sponge macha.. thanks for the personal attention youre giving me.

so will you grant another wish within 24 hours if i ask?

i cant teach you about defence but i can teach you something about malaysian food maybe in return

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Waht is it about? If I can I will.

Anonymous said...

would lovvvveee a run down on indias NUCLEAR CAPABILITIES.. dont worry u can take ur time i am a reasonable guy but keep it in ur mind and come out with it soooon

Anonymous said...

i mean it must cover about strategic nuclear command, and about the speculate after surya icbm program.. something like that.. about our true capabilities and whats on the cards (surya, atv submarine, .. ..)

Anonymous said...

can?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Don't worry, things will keep on appearing in due time. You've already got some data on the ADM and Nirbhay and Shourya. So hang in there and more data will soon emerge. But the Surya ICBM is definitely out as there is no such project. But what exists is the project to develop the 8,500km-range SLBM.

Anonymous said...

ok thanks for that preliminary info.. but try to put all in one box and gimme as a gift here OK???

anyway so surya is out? u confirmed? no plan to program on-going to develop a land based icbm? some ppl say surya is a bigger pslv or gslv but i cannot believe a icbm today be so huge like the pslv or gslv and uses cyro engine. and also if its like gslv or pslv they can only launch from a huge launch pad so its impossible.

Anonymous said...

or has the surya program existed?? because if somethings not cooking u wont get the smell of it? here too many ppl have smelt and spoken about surya. all cannot be lying together rite?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Like I said earlier, there was never any plan for developing an silo-based or road/rail-mobile ICBM like the Surya as there was no operational requirement for it. The only ICBM-like requirement for the Strategic Forces Command is the SLBM with 8,500km-range that was revealed two years ago by the retired CNS Admiral Arun Prakash in one of his articles. And the R & D effort for this SLBM is led by the 'Sagarika Project Office'. Sagarika was never the name for any missile, but the DRDO's project team/office that is developing the SLBM and its VLS launcher that will be submarine-based.

Anonymous said...

ok thanx for the info.. looking forward to your full article on it

Shriya said...

Ok thank you dear. so training is done in Russia at present? The new simulators will be acquired from Russia? I heard some company in India was developing them on partnership. is it manufactured by them (forgot who)