Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle

  • India became the fourth country after the United States, Russia and China to develop and successfully test hypersonic technology, using the indigenously developed scramjet propulsion system, from APJ Abdul Kalam testing range (Wheeler Island) in Balasore, Odisha.
  • This indigenous technology will pave the way towards development of missiles travelling at six times the speed of sound (Mach 6).
  • The test of Hypersonic Test Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV), developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) was conducted using the Agni missile booster and lasted for five minutes.
  • This test means that the DRDO will have the capacity to develop a hypersonic missile with scramjet engine in next five years, which will have the capacity to travel at more than two kilometres per second.
  • The HSTDV performed on all parametres, including combustion chamber pressure, air intake and control guidance.
  • The HSTDV is an unmanned scramjet demonstration aircraft for hypersonic speed flight.
  • Besides its utility for long-range cruise missiles of the future, the technology has multiple civilian applications also. It can be used for launching satellites at low cost too.
  • The HSTDV cruise vehicle is mounted on a solid rocket motor, which will take it to a required altitude, and once it attains certain mach numbers for speed, the cruise vehicle will be ejected out of the launch vehicle.
  • Subsequently, the scramjet engine will be ignited automatically.