The test of the Indigenous Technology Cruise Missile (ITCM) system powered by the ‘Manik’ small turbofan engine failed due to technical snags in its engine after it was fired from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) off the Odisha coast on Friday, according to a New Indian Express report.
The engine developed technical glitches after the initial booster phase, leading to the missile system plunging into the sea within 30 seconds of its launch, officials said. “The engine was supposed to start after the initial take-off from the specially designed mobile launcher. But it did not start, possibly owing to a snag. The system then fell down,” said a defence scientist was quoted as saying.
Designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) laboratory Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) in Bengaluru, the ‘Manik’ STFE is a bypass engine of 400 kgf thrust class aimed for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle application. According to DRDO, “the STFE engine is a generic twin spool engine without afterburner. It is an expendable, single-use, short life turbo fan engine comprising of various modules."
GTRE had also undertaken the task of developing sub systems and line replacement units (LRUs) like alternator, pyro systems, fuel injection systems, digital engine control system etc. with Indian public/private R&D establishments and industries, it added.
The ‘Manik’ STFE is designed to propel ‘Nirbhay’ ITCM, which is also India’s first indigenously built cruise missile. A two-stage missile, it is fueled by a solid rocket motor booster developed by the Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL).
This is the second such failure of the system in the last two years. In October 2020, a test had to be aborted due to technical snags. A year later, the DRDO held its first ‘partially’ successful test of the Manik engine as the engine performed per its requirement but the missile system could not travel the desire range.
No statements were issued by the DRDO at the time of writing this report.
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