Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle [HSTDV]

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : May 26, 2022, 12:44

DRDO successfully flew the Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle [HSTDV] from the Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Launch on Wheeler Island, off the coast of Odisha, on September 7, 2020. Let's take a closer look at HSTDV technology and its significance.

Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle [HSTDV] Technology

On September 7, 2020, the DRDO successfully demonstrated hypersonic air-breathing Scramjet technology with the Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle [HSTDV] flight test from the Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Launch Complex at Wheeler Island, off the coast of Odisha.

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is developing the HSTDV based on hypersonic propulsion technologies. It will assist India in developing future space assets such as long-range missile systems and aerial aircraft.

Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle [HSTDV] - Cruise Missiles

Before we get into the details, let's go through the different sorts of Cruise Missiles. These missiles are classified based on their speed as follows -

Subsonic Cruise Missile

The speed of a subsonic cruise missile is slower than the speed of sound. It travels at a speed of roughly 0.8 Mach (0.2744 km/s). The Tomahawk cruise missile from the United States is a well-known subsonic missile. Other examples are the US Harpoon, India's Nirbhay, and France's Exocet.

Supersonic Cruise Missile

The speed of a supersonic cruise missile is roughly 2-3 Mach (0.686 to 1.029 km/s). That is, it travels one kilometre in about one second. BrahMos (290-500 km), produced by India and Russia, is the fastest supersonic cruise missile. It is also the only tactical cruise missile that completes the triad. AGM-69 SRAM (200 km) from the United States is an example of a supersonic missile.

Hypersonic Cruise Missile

The speed of a hypersonic cruise missile would be at least five times that of sound. For instance, Russia's 3M22 Zircon hypersonic anti-ship cruise missile can travel at a speed of Mach 8 to Mach 9 (2.7-3.1 km/s).

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Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle [HSTDV] - Challenges faced by Hypersonic Flights

Heat

Friction and air resistance create an incredible amount of heat, which needs to be managed. Instruments like sensors and electronics need to be protected and equipped to stand up to such extreme conditions.

Manoeuvrability

Manoeuvrability is a huge challenge that requires extensive calculation and development. Hypersonic flights are designed to operate in contested environments so they must be made capable of overcoming a wide range of defences.

Communication

Communication involves continuous connectivity to operators and decision-makers through global communications. There is a need for sensor systems that can operate and aid in this in high-speed environments.

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Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle [HSTDV] - Background for India

The Defence Research and Development Organization [DRDO] first developed the engine in the early 2010s. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has worked on technological development and, in 2016, successfully tested a system. The contributions to the DRDO Special Project came from a variety of DRDO facilities, notably the Pune-based Armament and Combat Engineering Cluster.

Hypersonic flights are difficult due to extremely high temperatures and aerodynamic forces. As a result, some of the main issues DRDO faces are controlling temperature and airspeed.

"At hypersonic speeds, the system must manage temperatures in 2500 degrees Celsius and the airspeed," according to a DRDO expert. "The material development is thus one of the primary obstacles." DRDO has utilized various technologies that are already available with this project.

The Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle [HSTDV] is a dual-use technology with various civilian uses, including the low-cost launch of small satellites. HSTDV is already being employed as a platform for hypersonic and long-range cruise missiles. India is now a member of the hypersonic missile club, including the United States, Russia, and China. As a result, HSTDV test-firing is critical for India.

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FAQs on Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle [HSTDV]

Q1. What is the top speed of a hypersonic cruise missile that uses a Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle [HSTDV]?

The speed of the hypersonic cruise missile that uses a Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle [HSTDV] is at least five times the speed of the sound.

Q2. What are the different types of cruise missiles that use Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle [HSTDV]?

Subsonic Cruise Missiles, Supersonic Cruise Missiles, and Hypersonic Cruise Missiles are the three types of cruise missiles that use the Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle [HSTDV].

Q3. When did India's DRDO successfully test a Scramjet-powered Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle [HSTDV]?

India's DRDO successfully demonstrated the Hypersonic Air-Breathing Scramjet Technology during the Flight Test of Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle [HSTDV] from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Launch Complex at Wheeler Island, Off the Coast of Odisha on September 7, 2020.

Q4. Which countries have Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle [HSTDV]?

The countries That have Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle [HSTDV] are US, Russia and China.