In a boost to the mission of Atmanirbhar Bharat, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has today successfully flight-tested the Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle using the indigenously developed scramjet propulsion system. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh took to Twitter and congratulated DRDO for the success.
"With this success, all critical technologies are now established to progress to the next phase," Shri Rajnath Singh said. "I congratulate to DRDO on this landmark achievement towards realising PM’s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat. I spoke to the scientists associated with the project and congratulated them on this great achievement. India is proud of them," Singh said in another tweet.
"It's a major technological breakthrough in the country. This testing paves the way for the development of more critical technologies, materials & hypersonic vehicles. This puts India in a selected club of nations who have demonstrated this technology," DRDO Chairman Dr G Satheesh Reddy said.
The hypersonic cruise vehicle was launched using a proven solid rocket motor, which took it to an altitude of 30 kilometres (km), where the aerodynamic heat shields were separated at hypersonic Mach number. 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 i.e., nearly 02 km/second for more than 20 seconds. The critical events like fuel injection and auto ignition of scramjet demonstrated technological maturity. The scramjet engine performed in a textbook manner.
The parameters of launch and cruise vehicle, including scramjet engine, was monitored by multiple tracking radars, electro-optical systems and Telemetry Stations. The scramjet engine worked at high dynamic pressure and at very high temperature. A Ship was also deployed in the Bay of Bengal to monitor the performance during the cruise phase of hypersonic vehicle. All the performance parameters have indicated a resounding success of the mission.
With this successful demonstration, many critical technologies such as aerodynamic configuration for hypersonic manoeuvers, use of scramjet propulsion for ignition and sustained combustion at hypersonic flow, thermo-structural characterisation of high temperature materials, separation mechanism at hypersonic velocities etc. were proven.
In June 2019, the defence agency had launched a technology demonstrator vehicle from Dr Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha. "Various radars, telemetry stations and electro-optical tracking sensors tracked the vehicle through its course. The data has been collected and will be analysed to validate critical technologies," DRDO had said after the launch.