India closer to tech for missiles that can cruise 6 times faster than sound

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India is closer to Defence capabilities of developing missiles which can cruise at six times faster than the speed of sound. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully demonstrated the hypersonic air-breathing scramjet technology with the flight test of Hypersonic Technology Demonstration Vehicle (HSTDV). The entire operation was carried out   from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Launch Complex at Wheeler Island, off the coast of Odisha , on September 7, 2020 while a ship was also deployed in the Bay of Bengal to monitor the performance during the cruise phase of hypersonic vehicle. 

 India has  entered into the hypersonic regime paving way for advanced hypersonic Vehicles.  

  An elated Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the DRDO scientists. “Congratulations to DRDO for successful flight of the Hypersonic Test Demonstration Vehicle today. The scramjet engine developed by our scientists helped the flight achieve a speed 6 times the speed of sound! Very few countries have such capability today.”  

   ”All the performance parameters have indicated a resounding success of the mission,” according to a Defence Ministry statement. 

The hypersonic cruise vehicle was launched using a proven solid rocket motor, which took it to an altitude of 30 kilometres (km), where the aerodynamic heat shields were separated at hypersonic Mach number. The cruise vehicle separated from the launch vehicle and the air intake opened as planned. 

”The hypersonic combustion sustained and the cruise vehicle continued on its desired flight path at a velocity of six times the speed of sound i.e., nearly 02 km/second for more than 20 seconds. The critical events like fuel injection and auto ignition of scramjet demonstrated technological maturity. The scramjet engine performed in a text book manner,” according to  the statement  

It said the parameters of launch and cruise vehicle, including the scramjet engine, were monitored by multiple tracking radars, electro-optical systems and Telemetry Stations. The scramjet engine worked at high dynamic pressure and at very high temperature. A Ship was also deployed in the Bay of Bengal to monitor the performance during the cruise phase of hypersonic vehicle. 

With this successful demonstration, many critical technologies such as aerodynamic configuration for hypersonic manoeuvers, use of scramjet propulsion for ignition and sustained combustion at hypersonic flow, thermo-structural characterisation of high temperature materials, separation mechanism at hypersonic velocities etc. were proven, the Defence Ministry stated.   

Secretary Department of Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO Dr G Satheesh Reddy congratulated all the Scientists, Researchers and other personnel related with HSTDV mission for their resolute and unwavering efforts towards strengthening Nation’s defence capabilities. On this successful demonstration, the country enters into the hypersonic regime paving way for advanced hypersonic Vehicles.

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