15 months after the first failed test of its hypersonic missile demonstrator powered by Scramjet Hypersonic Technology Demonstration Vehicle (HSTDV), Indian engineers from the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), the Indian armaments agency, were able to successfully test their new technology on September 7, 2020 during a flight having, it seems, fulfilled all of its objectives. Launched by a solid fuel missile that brought the HSTDV to 30 km altitude at a speed of Mach 6, the hypersonic missile ignited its scramjet and maintained hypersonic flight for about twenty seconds, traveling 2 km every second in flight in level.
The test may seem limited, 20 seconds of hypersonic flight propelled by scramjet not strictly speaking an operational issue, since conventional propulsion missiles have already succeeded in doing so for several years. However, the Indian engineers showed by this test that they now mastered the ignition and especially the combustion control in a scramjet engine, which, in itself, opens the doors of hypersonic flight to the Indian aeronautical industry. In addition, this successful flight will have made it possible, without any doubt, to record a great deal of critical data for the development of the program in the future. Strictly speaking, it is therefore a real success for Indian research and industry.
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