To counter India’s much-talked of Cold Start doctrine that entails massive conventional thrusts into Pakistani territory in short periods of time, Pakistan has been flaunting its nuclear-capable Babur missile which it vows it’ll release on India’s armour and infantry if India attacks Pakistan. Now, India has its own answer to Pakistan’s Babur, the Nirbhay missile.

India is far superior to Pakistan in every aspect of warfare, especially when it comes to missile development. Keeping way ahead of Pakistan’s scant progress in this field – almost all of which is due to American and Chinese help – India has now successfully tested its first subsonic nuclear-capable long-range missile, Nirbhay.

So why is it much better that Babur and instils a sense of deep fear in Pakistan? Let’s see.

• Babur has an operational range of 750 km while Nirbhay’s range is 1,000 to 1,500 km. This means that Nirbhay can strike any part of Pakistan whereas Babur can’t do the same to India.

• Nirbhay is regarded to be faster than Babur with a speed of 0.8 Mach in comparison to Babur’s speed of 0.7 Mach.

• Nirbhay is lighter than Babur; Nirbhay has a weight of around 1,000 kg while Babur’s weight is 1,500 kg. This impedes Babur’s capability to be launched from air.

• Nirbhay is totally indigenously developed whereas Babur is regarded as a clone of America’s Tomahawk missile. It is even said that Pakistan actually stole the technology of Tomahawk– something at which Pakistan is very skilled.

• Nirbhay will be navigated by India’s own GPS system IRNSS while Pakistan depends on foreign GPS systems.

• Circular Error Probability (CEP), which is a measure of a missile’s accuracy, is as low as 1-2 meters for Nirbhay while it is 10 meters for Babur making Nirbhay much more accurate.

• Nirbhay has ‘loitering capability’ which means it can hover around a target and strike at will from any direction. It can also decoy any anti-missile system. Babur also boasts of such capabilities but it can’t compete with Nirbhay’s super manoeuvrable skills.

• Nirbhay has a fire-and-forget system that cannot be jammed.

• Nirbhay can be launched from air, land and sea; Babur doesn’t have an air version.

An overall assessment clearly shows why the Nirbhay is much better than the Babur. The development of Nirbhay has put India in an elite club of nations that have mastered the craft making of every kind of missile on earth – ballistic, tactical and cruise.


Vinayak Jain

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