India successfully tests Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle, launches into an elite club with US, Russia and China

India successfully tested an indigenously-developed hypersonic technology demonstrator vehicle (HSTDV) on Monday.

“In a historic mission today, India successfully flight tested Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV), a giant leap in indigenous defence technologies and significant milestone towards a #sashaktbharat and #atmanirbharbharat,” tweeted DRDO.

“DRDO with this mission, has demonstrated capabilities for highly complex technology that will serve as the building block for NextGen Hypersonic vehicles in partnership with industry,” it added.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated the team for its landmark achievement.

“The @DRDO_India has today successfully flight tested the Hypersonic Technology Demontrator Vehicle using the indigenously developed scramjet propulsion system. With this success, all critical technologies are now established to progress to the next phase,” tweeted Rajnath Singh.

“I congratulate to DRDO on this landmark achievement towards realising PM’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,” he added.

The HSTDV is an unmanned scramjet demostration aircraft for hypersonic speed flight. It can cruise at a speed of Mach 6 and an altitude of 32.5 kilometres.

India has thus become the fourth country after the United States, Russia and China to develop and successfully test hypersonic technology from APJ Abdul Kalam testing range (Wheeler Island) in Balasore, Odisha.

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.

The parameters of launch and cruise vehicle, including scramjet engine was 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. All the performance parameters have indicated a resounding success of the mission.

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.