India joins the hypersonic missile club



On Monday, Sept.7, India became the fourth country to join a special group of elites in successfully developing a hypersonic missile.

Along with the United States, Russia, and China, India can now boast to have developed and successfully tested its indigenous hypersonic technology. The test was conducted at the APJ Abdul Kalam testing range (Wheeler Island) in Balasore, Odisha. This technology will pave the way towards the development of missiles traveling at Mach 6, that is, six times the speed of sound.

The test of Hypersonic Test Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV), developed by India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) was conducted at 11.03 am on September 7th using the Agni missile booster and lasted for five minutes.

People aware of the development said this test means that the DRDO will have the capacity to develop a hypersonic missile with scramjet engine in next five years, which will have the capacity to travel at more than 1.2 mile per second.
The test was led by DRDO chief Satheesh Reddy and his hypersonic missile team. The HSTDV performed on all parameters, including combustion chamber pressure, air intake and control guidance, the agency said.
Defense minister Rajnath Singh congratulated the DRDO immediately after the test and praised their efforts to indigenously build a scramjet engine.

He said that it is a landmark achievement towards realizing the vision of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’. “The @DRDO_India has today successfully flight tested the Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle using the indigenously developed scramjet propulsion system. With this success, all critical technologies are now established to progress to the next phase,” Singh tweeted.

The HSTDV is an unmanned scramjet demonstration aircraft for hypersonic speed flight. Besides its utility for long-range cruise missiles of the future, the technology has multiple civilian applications also. It can be used for launching satellites at a low cost too, according to government officials.

The HSTDV cruise vehicle is mounted on a solid rocket motor, which will take it to a required altitude, and once it attains certain mach numbers for speed, the cruise vehicle will be ejected out of the launch vehicle. Subsequently, the scramjet engine will be ignited automatically.