India successfully test-fired Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) from the Dr. Abdul Kalam Island off the Odisha coast last week. With this mission, India becomes the 4th nation to successfully test a hypersonic missile after China, Russia, and the US.
It’s a major technological breakthrough. The air-breathing scramjet engine was successfully flight-tested at hypersonic speed within the atmosphere, meeting all technical parameters. The test paves the way for the development of more critical technologies, materials, and hypersonic vehicles. – said Dr. G Satheesh Reddy, The Defense Research and Defense Organization (DRDO) Chairman
The HSTDV can move at six times the sound speed and uses the indigenously developed scramjet propulsion system. The missile can fly at a speed of Mach 6 and can move up to an altitude of 32.5 km in 20 seconds. It is not easy to track the hypersonic missile because the missiles are a combination of speed of ballistic missiles, which are highly maneuverable, and do not follow a specific arc as they travel. In addition to this, the HSTDV is a dual technology that can be used for civilian applications, including the satellite’s launch at a low cost.
The Indian armed forces have already acquired the ramjet-powered BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, jointly developed with Russia. However, it is said that the scramjet engine is an improvement over ramjet-powered because the former operates efficiently at hypersonic speed and allows supersonic combustion.
PM Narendra Modi congratulated DRDO and tweeted,
Last year in June, DRDO attempted to launch the missile, but they couldn’t succeed because the test did not meet all the parameters, mainly due to weight issues. However, this time, the launch and cruise vehicles’ parameters were continuously monitored by multiple tracking radars, electro-optical systems, and telemetry stations. The next target is to develop a long-range hypersonic cruise missile, which will take close to six years.
Recently, India’s Ministry of Defense reserved 26 items that will only be procured from the local suppliers. After the launch of Make in India in 2014 and following the “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” approach, the hypersonic missile made in India is one of the huge achievements.