The missile was test-fired around 11.50 a.m from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur off the coast of Odisha but things went wrong within minutes as Nirbhay deviated from its flight course.
Nevertheless, the missile launch has been described as a mixed success. "The lift-off was successful but the flight had to be terminated halfway. We have not been able to achieve complete range capability, but the mission objectives have been met," a DRDO statement said, adding that the flight details are being closely perused.
Though Nirbhay is a medium-range missile, it has tail fins and a wing. These features which are not found usually in ballistic missiles enables Nirbhay to fly like an aircraft once it is launched using a rocket motor.
India is developing the missile to counter Pakistan's Babur. Nirbhay can carry nuclear warheads like the Tomahawk missile of the US. DRDO scientists are confident that it will be able to hit targets situated nearly 1000 kilometres away.
Mobile launchers can be used to fire the missile from sea, land and air. According to defense sources, Nirbhay has good guidance and control. Thanks to its fire-and-forget system, enemies cannot prevent the missile from striking its intended target.
Scientists working at the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), a DRDO laboratory in Bangalore, developed Nirbhay.