NEW DELHI: India on Monday successfully tested an indigenously-developed hypersonic technology demonstrator vehicle (HSTDV), powered by a scramjet engine, which will serve as the building block for next-generation hypersonic cruise missiles.
Congratulating DRDO scientists for the “landmark achievement”, defence minister Rajnath Singh said that with the successful HSTDV flight test, using the indigenously developed scramjet propulsion system, all critical technologies have now been established to progress to the next phase.
The test of the HSTDV, designed to cruise at Mach 6 speed with the scramjet engine, was conducted from the Dr Abdul Kalam Island off the Odisha coast at 11.03 am. “It met all the laid down technical parameters,” said a scientist.

The HSTDV project is basically aimed at demonstrating autonomous flight of a scramjet integrated vehicle, which can have multiple civilian applications, including launching satellites at a low-cost, as well as military uses in the shape of long-range cruise missiles.
The DRDO said the mission demonstrated capabilities for the highly-complex technology that will serve as the building block for next-generation hypersonic vehicles in partnership with the Indian industry.

DRDO chairman Dr G Satheesh Reddy congratulated all the scientists, researchers and other personnel related with the HSTDV mission for “their resolute and unwavering efforts towards strengthening the nation’s defence capabilities”.
Only a handful of countries, like the US, Russia and China, have demonstrated this capability till now. A scramjet engine is an improvement over the ramjet engine because the former operates efficiently at hypersonic speeds and allows supersonic combustion. Ramjets, in contrast, operate well at supersonic speeds around Mach 3 but their efficiency drops at hypersonic speeds.
The maiden launch of the HSTDV, powered by the solid rocket motor of an Agni ballistic missile, in June last year had failed. The HSTDV was supposed to “fire and fly on its own” after being carried to an altitude of around 30 km but the Agni booster could not achieve the desired altitude.


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