Indigenously developed nuclear warhead 'Nirbhay' cruise missile failed its test for the fourth time on Wednesday when the 1,000 km-range subsonic missile deviated from its flight path, The Times of India reports.

This was the fourth test of the missile since March 2013.

Quoting sources, the report said, the missile veered to the right within two minutes of take-off from the Integrated Test Range at Balasore off the Odisha coast. Eventually, the missile had to be destroyed in mid-air after it lost its flight track along the coast in Bay of Bengal.

However, there was no official word immediately about the outcome of the test flight, a PTI report said.

Nirbhay missile | Source: Defence Update

Powered by a solid rocket motor booster, 'Nirbhay' missile with a turbo-fan engine is guided by a highly advanced inertial navigation system. After the missile achieves designated altitude and velocity the booster motor is separated and the torfan engine automatically switches on taking over further propulsion, a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) scientist associated with this project said.

The maiden test flight of Nirbhay held on March 12, 2013 had to be terminated mid way for safety reasons due to malfunction of a component, sources said. However, the second launch on October 17, 2014 was termed as a "partial success".

The next trial conducted on October 16, 2015, had to be aborted after 700 seconds of its launch. All the trials were conducted from same defence base.

According to the TOI report, 'Nirbhay' was designed to meet the the demand of armed forces to have nuclear-tipped land-attack cruise missiles possessing capabilities to be fired from land, air and sea.

(With PTI inputs)

Feature image source: PTI/File Photo