BHUBANESWAR: In a giant leap in indigenous defence technologies and a significant milestone towards Sashakt Bharat and Atmanirbhar Bharat, India successfully flight-tested Hypersonic Technology Demonstration Vehicle (HSTDV) from a defence facility off Odisha coast on Monday.

India is the second country in the world after the US to have developed the hypersonic technology. Powered by scramjet engine it can cruise at Mach 6 and have multiple applications, including the launch of long-range cruise missiles and satellites at low cost.

Defence sources said the indigenously developed hypersonic cruise vehicle was launched from the missile complex- IV of Abdul Kalam Island at about 11.03 am using a proven solid rocket motor (Agni-1 booster), which took it to an altitude of 30 km, where the aerodynamic heat shields were separated at hypersonic speed.

“DRDO has successfully demonstrated the hypersonic air-breathing scramjet technology with the flight test of HSTDV. The scramjet engine performed in a textbook manner,” a defence official told The New Indian Express.

As planned, the cruise vehicle got separated from the launch vehicle subsequently opening the air intake. The hypersonic combustion sustained and the cruise vehicle continued on its desired flight path at a velocity of six times the speed of sound which is nearly 2 km/s for more than 20 seconds.

The critical events like fuel injection and auto ignition of scramjet demonstrated technological maturity. The parameters of launch and cruise vehicle, including the scramjet engine was monitored by multiple tracking radars, electro-optical systems and Telemetry Stations.

A ship was 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.

"The scramjet engine worked at high dynamic pressure and at very high temperature. With this successful demonstration, many critical technologies such as aerodynamic configuration for Hypersonic manoeuvres, use of scramjet propulsion for ignition and sustained combustion at hypersonic flow, thermo-structural characterisation of high-temperature materials, separation mechanism at hypersonic velocity," the official added.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated the DRDO on this landmark achievement towards realising PM Narendra Modi's vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat. He spoke to the scientists associated with the project and appreciated their efforts on this great achievement.

"The @DRDO_India has today successfully flight tested the Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle using the indigenously developed scramjet propulsion system. With this success, all critical technologies are now established to progress to the next phase," Singh tweeted.

DRDO Chairman Dr G Satheesh Reddy congratulated the scientists, researchers and other defence personnel associated with HSTDV mission for their resolute and unwavering efforts towards strengthening the country’s defence capabilities.

"It was a historic mission. With this mission, DRDO has demonstrated capabilities for highly complex technology that will serve as the building block for NextGen hypersonic vehicles in partnership with Indian industry," he said.

The six-metre long vehicle with a launch weight of around one tonne features a flattened octagonal cross-section with wings on mid-body and tail fins. The hydrocarbon-fuelled scramjet engine developed by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is placed at the mid-body while the portion towards the tail serves as exhaust nozzle. It's first test was conducted on June 12, last year.