It would indeed appear to be the case, if one is to believe the CEMILAC posters (shown above) highlighting the systems and weapons integration efforts now underway with the Su-30MKI. And equally unlikely is the prospect of an air-launched variant of a strategic, 1,000+km ground-launched cruise missile being developed, unless such an air-launched cruise missile is similar in size and performance parameters to PGMs like the Taurus KEPD-350 or SCALP/Storm Shadow. But even then, such a PGM would hardly qualify to be labelled as a ‘strategic’ weapon. Therefore, if indeed there is a ‘strategic’ (i.e. nuclear-armed) supersonic ALCM—powered by liquid-fuelled ramjets—being developed since late 2008 by the DRDO’s Advanced Systems Laboratory with RAFAEL’s assistance, and if it is meant to be launched by the Su-30MKI, then one could perhaps infer that ‘Nirbhay’ could after all be the ‘strategic, nuclear-armed, supersonic ALCM (instead of being a subsonic 1,000+km-range ground-launched cruise missile), which was first referred to as the nuclear-capable air-delivered munition (ADM) in the Draft Nuclear Doctrine prepared by India’s National Security Advisory Board in late 1998. And as the chart below of the DRDO indicates, this supersonic ALCM--due for service induction by 2015--could also be modified to serve as either a ground-launched tactical cruise missile, or even a long-range maritime strike PGM.
In conclusion, it could also be that the term ‘Nirbhay’ has been deliberately accorded to two separate R & D projects for obvious reasons, just as the there are two projects sharing the name ‘Arudhra’, these being the on-going procurement of ELTA Systems-built EL/M-2084 MMRs and the other relating to the DRDO’s efforts to develop a transportable medium-power radar of indigenous design—Prasun K. Sengupta