India 4th in world with ability to develop Mach 6 missiles

| | New Delhi
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India 4th in world with ability to develop Mach 6 missiles

Saturday, 28 January 2023 | Pioneer News Service | New Delhi

India 4th in world with ability to develop Mach 6 missiles

India on Friday carried out a test of indigenously designed Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSDTV) off the Odisha coast.  This niche technology is only available with three other countries — the US, China and Russia. 

It will enable development of hypersonic missiles which can travel at six times the speed of sound.

The  Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) carried out the test.  The DRDO had conducted three tests earlier in 2019, 2020 and 2021. The aim of the HSDTV project is to have a scramjet engine which can fly at an altitude of 15 to 20 km.

A scramjet engine (supersonic-combustion ramjet) is one which can operate at hypersonic speeds.

Hypersonic missiles can travel at speeds faster than Mach 5 (five times the speed of sound) or 3,800 miles per hour, much faster than other ballistic and cruise missiles. They are highly manoeuvrable and do not follow a predictable arc as they travel. They can deliver conventional or nuclear payloads within minutes.

A Hypersonic Vehicle can be an airplane, missile, or spacecraft.

The Indian hypersonic vehicle will take another three to four years to become fully operational.

In 2020, the DRDO successfully demonstrated the hypersonic air-breathing scramjet technology with the flight test of HSTDV.

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 were proven.  

Apart from being used as a vehicle for hypersonic long-range cruise missiles, the HSTDV is a dual-use technology that will have multiple civilian applications, including the launching of small satellites at low cost.

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