Hypersonic test by DRDO

The DRDO successfully flight tested the Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) – an unmanned scramjet vehicle with a capability to travel at six times the speed of sound.

DRDO has demonstrated capabilities for highly complex technology that will serve as the building block for NextGen Hypersonic vehicles.

The test which was conducted from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Launch Complex at Wheeler Island, off the coast of Odisha, the Agni missile was used. 

The parameters of the test were monitored by multiple tracking radars, electro-optical systems and telemetry stations and a ship was also deployed in the Bay of Bengal to monitor the performance during the cruise phase of hypersonic vehicle.

DRDO

The indigenous development of the technology will also boost the development of the systems built with hypersonic vehicles at its core, including both offensive and defensive hypersonic cruise missile systems and also in the space sector.

Scientists believe that while the successful test is a major milestone, many more rounds of tests will have to be done to achieve the level of technology with countries like the US, Russia and China. 

The scramjets are a variant of a category of jet engines called the air breathing engines. The ability of engines to handle airflows of speeds in multiples of speed of sound, gives it a capability of operating at those speeds.

Hypersonic speeds are those which are five times or more than the speed of sound. The unit tested by the DRDO can achieve upto six times the speed of sound or Mach 6, which is well over 7000 Km per hour or around two Km per second.

While the technology helps achieve hypersonic speeds, it comes with its set of disadvantages, and the obvious one being its very high cost and high thrust-to-weight ratio.

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