Hypersonic Wind Tunnel Test Facility

The Defence Minister Rajnath Singh recently inaugurated the Advanced Hypersonic Wind Tunnel test facility in Hyderabad. This is the first of its kind being launched in the country. India is the third country after United States and Russia to launch the facility.

What is a Wind Tunnel?

Wind Tunnels are large tubes with air blowing through them. These tunnels move air around an object making it seem as if the object is really flying. They replicate the actions of an object flying through the air.

What is Hypersonic Wind Tunnel Test Facility?

The Hypersonic flow is a flow where the speeds are much higher than the local speed of sound. The hypersonic flow is generally defined as the flow at Mach 5 or greater. The Hypersonic test facility should simulate the flow features of this regime, that is, of flow rate Mach 5 or greater. It includes shock layer, viscous interaction layer, entropy layer and stagnation temperature of the flow.

The recently inaugurated Hypersonic Wind Tunnel Test Facility will simulate hypersonic flow over a wide spectrum. It will play a major role in realizing highly complex futuristic aerospace and defence system.

It is a high-pressure vacuum driven enclosed jet facility that has a Nozzle Exit Diameter of one metre. It will simulate Mach 5 to Mach 12. Mach is the multiplication factor to the speed of sound. It is called Mach Number. Mach number of the ratio between flow velocity past a boundary to the local speed of the sound. Mach 5 says that the speed is 5 times the speed of sound.

Classification based on Mach number

A flight of an object can be classified based on Mach number as follows:

  • If Mach number is less than 0.8, it called subsonic
  • If Mach number is between 0.8 and 1.2, it is called Transonic
  • If the Mach number is 1, the object is said to travel at speed of the sound
  • If Mach number of between 1.2 and 5.0, they are called Supersonic sounds
  • If the Mach number is between 5 and 10, it is called Hypersonic sounds
  • If the Mach number is greater than 8.8. it is called Hypervelocity

Other recent Developments

The DRDO recently developed Hypersonic Technology Demonstration Vehicle, Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile (QRSAM), Anti-Radiation Missile (RUDRAM), Supersonic Missile Assisted Release of Torpedo (SMART) and Quantum Key Distribution technology.


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