NEW DELHI: The successful test of Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) by India on Monday by integrating scramjet engine technology is a quantum jump for the country in bolstering its missile capability.
India has joined the elite club that includes the US, Russia and China in having such a capability. The Indian HSTDV is said to be a precursor to developing cruise missiles which can travel six times or more than the speed of sound. The technology has a wider civil and military use.
The Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) was elated by the successful test.
“It is a giant leap in indigenous defence technologies,” it said.
DRDO said the mission has demonstrated capabilities for developing a highly complex technology that will serve as the building block for the next generation hypersonic vehicles in partnership with industry.
The HSTDV successfully used a scramjet engine which takes in ambient air for combustion to acquire the hypersonic speed.
The vehicle was able to touch a speed of more than 6,000 km/hour. Systems moving with the velocity at or above Mach 5 are categorised as hypersonic.
Former DRDO scientist Dr Ravi Gupta said the capability will change the profile of Indian missiles.
“The success of scramjet engine will make the missile systems lethal by decreasing the length of the vehicle without compromising the payload.”
Group Captain Ajey Lele believes that the technological success will strengthen India’s nuclear capability and will make the traditional Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) systems redundant.
"The BMD is a shield against missile attacks. Broadly speaking, vehicles with hypersonic air-breathing propulsion system offer various advantages such as rapid response at long range, increased maneuverability and better survivability,” said Group Captain Lele.