India enters ‘Hypersonic’ club after successful flight test

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India entered the iconic hypersonic club by conducting the first successful test of Hypersonic Technology Demonstration Vehicle (HSTDV) from the coast of Odisha. With this “historic mission”, India now becomes the fourth nation after Russia, China and the US in developing hypersonic test vehicles. India entered the club when the vehicle got launched off the Wheeler Island on the Odisha Coast. It flew for more than 20 seconds at a rate of two kilometres per second.

This marks an iconic move of India as hypersonic missiles are known to be the future of modern warfare. Hypersonic missiles travel five times the speed of sound, having the speed of ballistic missiles and agility of cruise missiles. They carry the capability to hit both land and sea targets placed to over 1000 kilometres. These missiles signify the power of our nation as they are hard to track and intercept.

The hypersonic technology was tested from APJ Abdul Kalam testing range in Odisha at around 11 am on Monday, Sept. 7 2020. The test was carried in various stages starting with Stage1 wherein the test vehicle was mounted on AGNI Missile Booster. In stage 2 and 3, the booster took the test vehicle to an altitude of 30 kilometres which then got separated from the launch vehicle (boosters). Stage 4 comprised the operative part where the test vehicle’s SCRAMJET Engine was fired for around 20 seconds achieving a speed six times the speed of sound.

The test was performed by DRDO (Defense Research Organization) and called it a “significant milestone” towards a self-reliant and empowered India. DRDO Chief Satheesh Reddy called it a “major technical breakthrough” as India marks its entrance in the “hypersonic regime”.

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