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India’s Hypersonic Missile Could be a Glide Vehicle?

Published Jun 18, 2019
Updated Apr 13, 2020

Recent tests of technology demonstrator vehicle by the DRDO indicate that India’s hypersonic missile could be a glide vehicle?

The Ministry of Defence in a press release on 12 June indicated that the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) launched a Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (TDV) to prove a number of critical technologies for futuristic missions from Dr Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha.

As per the release, the missile was successfully launched at 1127 Hours. Various radars, telemetry stations and electro optical tracking sensors tracked the vehicle through its course. The data has been collected and will be analysed to validate the critical technologies.

The final outcome of the test however was not released.

Economic Times has indicated that the first and second stages of the Agni-I missile carrying the TDV was successful but the test vehicle was not released as control over the missile was lost midway through the flight path

The TDV was thus not tested during the trial yet the other parameters of the test were successful.

Economic Times states that the loss of control over the Agni 1 missile is worrying and an investigation is now on.

Agni 1 having a range of 700 kms is already inducted and is one of the delivery vehicles for India’s nuclear systems.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has been developing the Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV), though verified details of the project are not available.

The Ministry of Defence Press Release is an indicator that India’s hyper sonic vehicle will be mounted on the Agni series of missiles and will be launched thereof.

This is the normal technique that is used by other countries development this genre of missiles.

A hypersonic missile as per Defence IQ is a cruise missile that attains the speed of Mach 5 and higher – five times faster than the speed of sound (3836 mph) or around 1 mile per second. The high velocity facilitates speed in reaching the target before missile defence can get activated.

Comparatively, most cruise missiles such as the US Tomahawk are subsonic travelling at 550mph. The only supersonic cruise missile is the Indo Russian joint project BrahMos

BrahMos Aerospace the joint Indo Russian venture which is successfully manufacturing the BrahMos missile has indicated that it is developing a hypersonic version of the missile which will be capable of attaining a speed of Mach 6 based on a scramjet engine.

India has also tested the Shaurya missile way back in 2011 which is said to be having a speed of Mach 7.5 and a range of 700 miles.

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