The successful test has been described by experts as the first step towards the next generation of cruise missiles and weapon systems

India successfully flight-tested the Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) from Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Launch Complex at Wheeler Island, off the coast of Odisha on Monday. Officials and scientists called it a “major technological breakthrough” for the country with the hypersonic vehicle travelling at six times the speed of sound.

The successful test has been described by experts as the first step towards the next generation of cruise missiles and weapon systems.

According to the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the hypersonic cruise vehicle was launched using a proven solid rocket motor, which took it to an altitude of 30 kilometres (km). Once at this altitude, the aerodynamic heat shields were separated at hypersonic Mach number. The cruise vehicle separated from the launch vehicle and the air intake opened as planned.

“The hypersonic combustion sustained and the cruise vehicle continued on its desired flight path at a velocity of six times the speed of sound i.e., nearly 02 km/second for more than 20 seconds,” the Ministry of Defence said in a statement after the successful test flight..

According to the ministry, many critical technologies such as aerodynamic configuration for hypersonic maneuvers, use of scramjet propulsion for ignition and sustained combustion at hypersonic flow, thermo-structural characterization of high-temperature materials, separation mechanism at hypersonic velocities were proven with this successful demonstration.

“In a historic mission today, India successfully flight-tested Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV), a giant leap in indigenous defense technologies and a significant milestone towards a #sashaktbharat and #atmanirbharbharat,” the official handle of Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) tweeted.

“DRDO with this mission has demonstrated capabilities for highly complex technology that will serve as the building block for NextGen Hypersonic vehicles in partnership with industry,” DRDO tweeted.

Congratulating DRDO, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said very few countries had such a capability today.

“Congratulations to @DRDO_India for successful flight of the Hypersonic Test Demonstration Vehicle today. The scramjet engine developed by our scientists helped the flight achieve a speed 6 times the speed of sound! Very few countries have such capability today,” he said on Twitter.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated DRDO on the landmark achievement towards realizing the Atmanirbhar Bharat Mission.

“I congratulate to DRDO on this landmark achievement towards realizing PM’s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat. I spoke to the scientists associated with the project and congratulated them on this great achievement. India is proud of them,” he said in a tweet.

Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu called the mission an “important milestone in our quest towards achieving self-reliance.”

“Congratulations to @DRDO_India for successfully conducting a test flight of Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle by using indigenous scramjet engine. This is an important milestone in our quest towards achieving self-reliance. #HSTDV,” he said in a tweet.

Secretary Department of Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO G Satheesh Reddy said HSTDV is a “major technological breakthrough of the country” in a video message on social media. He further said that the successful flight testing puts India in the select list of nations who have demonstrated this technology.

He congratulated all the scientists, researchers, and other personnel-related to the HSTDV mission for their resolute and unwavering efforts towards strengthening the nation’s defense capabilities.