NEW DELHI: In a major boost for India`s missile strike capabilities, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has said that it can develop a complete hypersonic cruise missile system in the next four to five years which will have the capability to strike its targets at speeds at least double than that of world`s present fastest BrahMos supersonic cruise missile.
The DRDO testfired the Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) on September 7 which is expected to lay the foundation for the development of a hypersonic cruise missile system.
Giving details of the HSTDV testfiring, DRDO chief Dr G Satheesh Reddy said the cruise missiles are the one which flies at a lower altitude.
“In that cruise missile, we have varieties called Subsonic cruise missile, Supersonic cruise missile and then hypersonic cruise missiles. The hypersonic cruise missiles are the one which actually travels at six times, seven times..eight times..more than that the speed of sound which is approximate about 300+ metre per second on the surface of the earth,” he said.
“This one what we have attempted has got a scramjet engine, which works at the hypersonic speed breathing the air in the atmosphere, taking the oxygen in the atmosphere and then burns it and that happens at the hypersonic speed,” he added.
Reddy said the scramjet engine developed by the DRDO has been tested for a specific time to see how it is working.”It has been scramjet vehicle which is the hypersonic cruise vehicle, has been taken to a designated height and released at the specific Mach number and then the engine has been ignited and the engine has been tested,” he said.
The DRDO chief said this was the first time that India`s premier defense research agency has done such an experiment for a good amount of time and “it has successfully worked and hence it paves the way for us to work on these technologies for longer ranges.”
Asked how long will take for a hypersonic cruise missile system to be fully developed, Reddy said, “It will take probably about four to five years for us to work on all these things and realise a complete missile system working for some good amount of range.”
On the comparison with the speeds of the further hypersonic cruise missile with the existing BrahMos supersonic cruise missile system, he said it will be at least double of that speed at around six to seven Mach. The BrahMos supersonic cruise missile is considered to be the world`s fastest cruise missile at the moment with speeds of around 2.8 Machs.
Asked about the successful test of the BrahMos on September 30, he said the missile was tested with heightened indigenous content and it has proved itself. The BrahMos Extended Range Missile can be launched at targets beyond 400 kms and can strike its targets at longer ranges than before. It was earlier used for striking targets slightly less than 300 kms.