Hyderabad: 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) on 7 September from Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam Launch Complex at Wheeler Island, off the coast of Odisha.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh congratulated DRDO on this landmark achievement. “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 (sic),” he tweeted on Monday.

The hypersonic cruise vehicle was launched using a proven solid rocket motor, which took it to an altitude of 30 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 two km per second for more than 20 seconds. The critical events like fuel injection and auto ignition of scramjet demonstrated technological maturity.

The parameters of the launch and cruise vehicle, including the 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.

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

The secretary of the department of Defence R&D and chairman of DRDO, 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. On this successful demonstration, the country enters into the hypersonic regime paving way for advanced hypersonic vehicles, he said.

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