New Delhi, Sep 7 (efe-epa).- India on Monday tested a hypersonic vehicle, which can be used for both civilian and military purposes such as propelling missiles, capable of flying at 7,300 kph (4,500 mph), joining an elite club of countries to have developed the technology alongside the United States, China and Russia.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully carried out “the flight test of Hypersonic Technology Demonstration Vehicle (HSTDV) at 1103 hours” from an island off India’s eastern coast, the defense ministry said in a press release.
DRDO Chairman Satheesh Reddy said in a statement that the test paves the way for “many more critical technologies, materials, and hypersonic vehicles’ development.”
He called the vehicle a “major technological breakthrough” for the country.
According to the release, the HSTDV was sent to an altitude of 30 kilometer with a conventional rocket, and subsequently reached sustained speeds of up to Mach 6 (over 7,300 kph) for around 20 seconds.
The vehicles uses a “scramjet” engine, which – unlike passenger jet engines – does not use a compressor, but uses its high speed to compress the air.
Only the US, China and Russia have successfully developed this technology so far.
The three powers have so far enjoyed a clear tactical advantage by dominating the military components of hypersonic technology, as the high speed and unpredictable flight paths make such devices immune to conventional anti-missile systems.
The US successfully tested a hypersonic missile in March this year, while Russia had in December introduced the first hypersonic intercontinental missiles in service, called the Avangard system.
Similarly, China exhibited its Dong Feng DF-17, a hypersonic glide missile, during a military parade in October.
India, one of the largest arms importers in the world, has been trying to procure hypersonic missile systems for some time.
Last year Defense Minister Rajnath Singh had called for the indigenous development of the technology in a world where many countries have developed air defense systems that make conventional missiles useless.
However, Singh had insisted that India’s policy continues to push for “regional, continental and global” peace and stability. EFE-EPA