India on Monday became the fourth country after US, Russia and China to develop and successfully test hypersonic technology from APJ Abdul Kalam testing range (Wheeler Island) in Balasore, Odisha, paving the way towards development of missiles travelling at six times the speed of sound (Mach 6).
The test of Hypersonic Test Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV), developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) was conducted at 11.03 am today and lasted for five minutes using Agni missile booster.
According to top government sources, this means that the DRDO will have the capacity to develop a hypersonic missile with scramjet engine in next five years, which travels at more than two kilometres 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.
At 11.03 am, an Agni missile booster took the hypersonic vehicle to height of 30 km after which the latter separated. Thereafter, the vehicle’s air intake opened and that led to successfully firing of the test scramjet engine. The combustion lasted for more than 20 seconds with the vehicle achieving a speed of six Mach. “The vehicle performed successfully on all the pre-determined parameters including the ability to handle combustion temperatures of over 2500 degrees Celsius as well as air speed,” said a senior official.
Defence 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 realising the vision of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India).
“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.
“I congratulate to DRDO on this landmark achievement towards realising the Prime Minister’s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat. I spoke to the scientists associated with the project and congratulated them on this great achievement. India is proud of them,” the defence minister said in another tweet.