The hypersonic air-breathing scramjet technology was successfully demonstrated by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on Monday with a flight test of the Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) at 11.03 AM from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Launch Complex at Wheeler Island, off the coast of Odisha.

DRDO Chairman G Satheesh Reddy appreciated the scientists and support staff for their their contribution towards strengthening the Nation’s defence capabilities.

“It’s a major technological breakthrough. This testing paves the way for development of more critical technologies, materials and hypersonic vehicles. This puts India in a select club of nations that have demonstrated this technology,” DRDO Chairman G. Satheesh Reddy said.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh lauded Defence Research and Development Organisation on achieving this milestone.

“The @DRDO_India has today successfully flight tested the Hypersonic Technology Demontrator Vehicle using the indigenously developed scramjet propulsion system. With this success, all critical technologies are now established to progress to the next phase,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted.

Rajnath DRDO tweet

“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 speed,” the DRDO said in a statement.

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, which is nearly 2 km/s for more than 20s,” the statement said.

Critical events such as fuel injection and auto ignition of the scramjet demonstrated technological maturity, the DRDO said. “The scramjet engine performed in a textbook manner. It worked at high dynamic pressure and at very high temperature.”

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

With this successful demonstration, many critical technologies such as aerodynamic configuration of hypersonic manoeuvres, use of scramjet propulsion for ignition and sustained combustion at hypersonic flow, thermo-structural characterisation of high-temperature materials and separation mechanism at hypersonic velocities have been validated, the DRDO said.