ISRO, HQ IDS Conduct Joint Hypersonic Vehicle Test Run

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), along with the Headquarters of the Integrated Defense Staff (HQ IDS), conducted the joint test run of hypersonic vehicle. The recently held joint trial run fulfilled the predetermined targets successfully. This hypersonic vehicle is set to become operational in three to four years.

What is a hypersonic vehicle?

  • A hypersonic vehicle is a vehicle capable of travelling at a speed higher than Mach 5 (five times faster than the speed of sound). It can be an airplane, missile or spacecraft.
  • Countries like China, India, Russia, and the United States are racing to enhance their ability to develop hypersonic missiles.
  • These vehicles have high manoeuvrability and do not follow a predictable arc.

What are the efforts taken by India to develop hypersonic vehicles?

Indian scientists are currently developing hypersonic missiles in collaboration with Russia.  They are also working on a project for the development of an indigenous, dual-capable hypersonic cruise missile under the Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) program, which comes under the aegis of the DRDO. These missiles are capable of delivering both nuclear and conventional arsenal.

In 2020, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully demonstrated the hypersonic air-breathing scramjet technology with the flight test of the Hypersonic Technology Demonstration Vehicle (HSTDV). The HSTDV is an unmanned scramjet demonstration aircraft capable of delivering hypersonic and long-range cruise missiles as well as small satellites at a cheaper cost. It reached the speed of Mach 6 for 23 seconds during the trial run. This proved India’s capability in aerodynamic configuration for hypersonic manoeuvers, use of scramjet propulsion for ignition and sustained combustion at hypersonic flow, thermo-structural characterization of high-temperature materials, and separation mechanism at hypersonic velocities. It may be related to the development of the BrahMos-2 hypersonic missile, which is expected to be modelled based on Russia’s Zircon hypersonic missile. However, the HSTDV program is funded and researched separately from BrahMos-2.



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