India’s DRDO Tests Hypersonic Technology Demonstration Vehicle

  • Our Bureau
  • 08:03 AM, September 7, 2020
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India’s DRDO Tests Hypersonic Technology Demonstration Vehicle
Hypersonic Technology Demonstration Vehicle (via Indian media)

India’s state-run Defence Research and Development Organisation flight tested Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) today.

“DRDO 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,” Indian defence minister Rajnath Singh tweeted.

The HSTDV is an unmanned scramjet demonstration aircraft for hypersonic speed flight. It is being developed as a carrier vehicle for hypersonic and long-range cruise missiles, and will have multiple civilian applications including the launching of small satellites at low cost. The vehicle is capable of cruising at a speed of Mach 6 and can cruise at an altitude of 32.5km in 20 seconds.

India’s DRDO Tests Hypersonic Technology Demonstration Vehicle
Hypersonic Technology Demonstration Vehicle illustration

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, Indian MoD said in a release

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