India Claims To Have Successfully Tested A Hypersonic Scramjet Powered Vehicle | World Defense

India Claims To Have Successfully Tested A Hypersonic Scramjet Powered Vehicle

space cadet

Sep 2, 2019
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India Claims To Have Successfully Tested A Hypersonic Scramjet Powered Vehicle​

Details surrounding the test remain limited, but if it was successful as claimed, it formally marks India's entrance into the hypersonic weapons race.​



According to India, they have joined the hypersonic club with a successful first flight-test this morning of its indigenous Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle. A product of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the vehicle supposedly utilizes air-breathing scramjet technology to propel it to hypersonic speeds. Eventually, it’s hoped that the technology demonstrator will inform the development of future hypersonic cruise missiles.

The hypersonic cruise vehicle was launched at 1103 hours on September 7, 2020, from the Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Launch Complex at Wheeler Island, off the coast of Odisha, in eastern India.

A scramjet typically only functions properly at high speeds, requiring some kind of booster, generally a rocket motor, to accelerate it to operating velocity. Then, the scramjet — an airbreathing jet in which the airflow is supersonic throughout the entire engine — kicks in. Hypersonic speeds are normally defined as Mach 5 or above.


The Agni-I carrying the HSTDV lifts off from the Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Launch Complex at Wheeler Island.

The Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) was launched atop an Agni-I rocket — based on a short-range ballistic missile — which took it to an altitude of 18.6 miles and hypersonic velocity, according to a statement from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). At this point, the aerodynamic heat shields fell away and the cruise vehicle separated from the launch vehicle. The air intake for the scramjet deployed and the vehicle continued to fly for more than 20 seconds at a speed of around Mach 6. The scramjet engine was powered by kerosene fuel.


“The critical events like fuel injection and auto ignition of scramjet demonstrated technological maturity,” the DRDO announced. “The scramjet engine performed in a textbook manner.”

The entire test was monitored by telemetry stations, electro-optical systems, and tracking radars — including a research vessel in the Bay of Bengal.

The latest demonstration proved a number of key technologies that will now inform further hypersonic developments, including the aerodynamic configuration of the cruise vehicle, separation mechanism, scramjet ignition, and sustained combustion in the hypersonic realm.

On Twitter, the DRDO celebrated the achievement, describing the test as “a giant leap in indigenous defense technologies.” The organization also noted that the mission “demonstrated capabilities for highly complex technology that will serve as the building block for NextGen Hypersonic vehicles.”

According to local media, the HSTDV will pave the way toward a practical weapon in the next five years. Other nations to have tested the technology required for a hypersonic cruise missile are the United States, China, and Russia.

A first test by the DRDO in June 2019 had been less successful. On that occasion, the Agni-I rocket reportedly failed to achieve the required altitudefrom Wheeler Island, apparently due to weight issues, although few details were provided.

There’s currently plenty of activity in the field of hypersonic missiles, as leading military nations seek a way of penetrating increasingly sophisticated enemy air defenses. Flying at tremendous speed and using an atmospheric flight profile, hypersonic weapons, in general, are a challenge to spot, track, and intercept.

Not all hypersonic missiles are powered, however, with some like the AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon, or ARRW, utilizing an unpowered boost-glide vehicle. A scramjet powerplant, on the other hand, offers the opportunity for sustained cruise and a more dynamic flight profile, making it potentially harder still to intercept and more flexible to employ.

In the United States, under the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Conceptprogram, or HAWC, Northrop Grumman has teamed up with Raytheon to work on a scramjet-powered hypersonic cruise missile, which is competing against a rival design from Lockheed Martin.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) launched the HAWC program in 2014, in cooperation with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), and recently announced the first captive-carry flight tests of prototype missiles from both design teams. It appears test flights are now imminent.

Yet another U.S. scramjet effort involves the Air Force’s Mayhem program. This seems geared toward examining the more advanced end of powered hypersonic development, with the aim of fielding an expendable air vehicle to test exotic turbine-based combined cycle engines. This type of powerplant combines a ramjet or scramjet with a conventional jet turbine, meaning it can operate at lower speeds too.


The U.S. Air Force’s Mayhem program is expected to examine turbine-based combined cycledesigns, a type of engine that could power future hypersonic aircraft, such as Lockheed Martin's in-development SR-72.

The Indian HSDTV, however, is probably closer in concept to the scramjet-powered X-43A hypersonic test vehicle developed for NASA, being a technology demonstrator rather than a prototype for a true weapon system. To date, the X-43A remains the fastest jet-powered air vehicle, achieving a speed of Mach 9.6 in a 2004 flight test. Unlike the HSDTV, the X-43A, together with its booster stage, was air-launched, from under the wing of a NASA NB-52 test aircraft.

In the United States, the X-43A was followed by Boeing’s experimental X-51A Waverider, another scramjet-powered design. The ‘waverider’ concept involves the vehicle ‘skipping’ on top of the shockwaves produced during high-speed flight to produce additional lift. This same concept is now being used in the Northrop Grumman/Raytheon design for HAWC.

While the X-43A and X-51A were carried aloft by a B-52 before being accelerated by a booster motor, previous U.S. hypersonic tests, like DARPA’s Project Falcon, have relied on rockets with a ballistic trajectory to get the test vehicle up to the required speed. It’s no surprise, therefore, that India took this approach with its HSDTV.

Alongside the HSTDV, India is also continuing to work with Russia on the scramjet-powered Brahmos-2 hypersonic cruise missile, with a preliminary agreement signed back in 2012 and involving both the DRDO and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyenia. It’s unclear how the two programs are related, if at all, but plans call for the Brahmos-2 to be made available in versions launched from land, sea, and aircraft platforms. The Brahmos-2 may also leverage technology from the NPO Mashinostroyenia 3M22 Zircon hypersonic cruise missile, for which there are plans to arm a range of Russian Navy warships and submarines.

As it embarks on a new realm of hypersonic weapons development, India no doubt also has one eye on its regional rival China, which is already making rapid progress in this area.

With a hypersonic renaissance already well underway in the United States, and with similar programs known to be active in China and Russia too, India’s latest 'successful' hypersonic test couldn’t be more timely.


Staff member
Nov 17, 2017
24,463 1,293 0
Successful test of a new Indian hypersonic missile that will enter service soon


NEW DELHI, (BM) – India continues to grow its defense industry, especially in the face of recent Chinese confrontations and looming real dangers in the Ladakh region. According to the Indian edition of Indian Times, New Delhi has already performed tests on the latest hypersonic missile of the Indian Missile Forces, namely the Shaurya missile, learned

According to familiar experts, this missile has a short range of action, suggesting that we are talking about a range of damage within 800 km. Sources claim that the last tests were today (Saturday, October 3 – ed.) And very soon the Indian Armed Forces will be able to bring it into combat readiness to defend the state territory.

What you need to know, however, is that the missile did not take off at hypersonic speed, but reached the desired hypersonic speed in the last stage of flight, just before hitting the target with precise accuracy. Only a lighter version of the missile, from the one that has already been tested, is to be developed.

Indian President Narendra Modi continues to invest in the development of local research and development, such as the Shaurya missile, which seeks to make India more independent of foreign military proposals and ensure the necessary self-sufficiency in the armaments of the Indian army and units. for the defense of the Asian country.

We remind you that together with Moscow, New Delhi has developed and put into operation and on combat duty hypersonic missile BrahMos, which has the ability to hit targets at distances of up to 400 km and is one of the prides of the Indian defense.

Russia and India to create a missile to destroy AWACS aircraft

In mid-September this year, information emerged in the Indian and Russian media that the two countries were working together to create a missile designed to destroy airborne early warning and control aircraft [AWACS].

We are talking about the already available technology of the hypersonic Indo-Russian BrahMos missile, but this time in the version of the cruise missile, designed to hit and destroy targets in the air, ie. air-to-air class.

What is known so far, according to Russian sources, is that by the middle of 2024 the missile must have already been manufactured and even tested in order to be able to serve in both the Russian army and the Indian army.

AWACS is an electronic reconnaissance and control system that is installed on aircraft and helicopters and is designed to detect enemy targets [in the air, land and water] at a great distance, direct weapons or interceptors to them, and coordinate the actions of allied forces and related tasks. In the Russian literature, the term AWACS [long-range radar detection and control system] is used.

India fired an unusual guided missile from a tank and bothered China

On September 25 this year according to information spread on social networks and especially on Twitter, the Indian Army has conducted a successful test of the launch of GLATGM [Gun Launched Anti Tank Guided Missile] from the main armament tank, namely Arjun.

According to local sources, this test was performed on September 23 this year at the Ahmednagar test site. Experts believe that this missile can be used by various launchers, and apparently this is so after the Indians managed to fire it from the said tank. What is known so far from the report of the Indian authorities is that the projectile has reached a target at a distance of 3 km.

The projectile is equipped with a tandem cumulative anti-tank warhead with infrared targeting. Military experts say that this projectile is successfully and most effectively able to increase the tank’s combat power, as it is built on the principle of “a balanced combination of conventional and intelligent tank ammunition.”

Belgian experts claim that the same projectile can be successfully used not only by Indian tanks but also by Russian tanks, as India uses the base of Russian tanks to build its Arjun. Russia also has similar missiles, but they were developed in the Soviet era and have laser targeting as an additional feature. But experts say that the Russian missiles, analogous to the Indian, differ in the range of defeat and the distance to reach the target.

As far as we know, the Russian missiles in question have a range of 4 to 5 km.

Back in India, experts say that based on the tests, New Delhi is likely to abandon the purchase of their Russian counterparts, as they already have the technology to develop them, which would significantly optimize military spending.

“India is proud of the DRDO team working to reduce import dependence,” Defense Minister Rajnat Singh said after testing on September 23rd.


Dec 20, 2017
1,697 47 0
Sounds like French are transferring technology together with MICA.
If true, it also shows India is pushing more and more for stand off weapons. Future seems challenging for PAF.