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The era of hypersonic technology

 On 7th September 2020, India's Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) demonstrated hypersonic air-breathing scramjet technology with the test of Hypersonic Technology Demonstration Vehicle from  Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Launch Complex at Wheeler Island in Bay of Bengal. 

The Press Information Bureau (PIB) of India in a press release 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 text book manner."

Credit : PIB India
This technology demonstration put India in an elite group of four countries who is working on hypersonic missile technology along with USA, China and Russia. A hypersonic missile is a missile which can travel at a speed of Mach 5 or more (Mach 1 is the speed of sound in a medium). USA and China both are in advance stage of development of hypersonic missile where as Russia has already inducted  such missiles into the service.

Credit : PIB India
The hypersonic technology will change the tactics of warfare as such cruise missiles will be very hard to intercept by an air defence system as the reaction time will be very less. These missiles can be used as aircraft carrier killers.


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