India working on complete hypersonic cruise missile system to boost strike force

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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 test fired 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.

DRDO chief G Satheesh Reddy in New Delhi during an exclusive interview with ANI on Wednesday. (Photo/ANI)

Giving details of the HSTDV testfiring to ANI, 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.

Navy to be benefitted

Dr G Satheesh Reddy said that once fully developed, the Supersonic Missile Assisted Release Torpedo (SMART) weapon system would boost the Navy’s anti-submarine warfare capability and allow it to engage enemy submarines from far off distances.

The SMART weapon system was successfully testfired for the first time on October 5 where a supersonic missile was used to launch a torpedo against a simulated submarine as a target and the test was fully successful.

“A torpedo has a limited range capability. The range of torpedo is enhanced through many mechanisms. One of the mechanisms is a supersonic missile assisted release of the torpedo, that is how it is called SMART,” Reddy said.

The test was carried out on October 5 from the APJ Abdul Kalam Island in Balasore off the coast of Odisha. (ANI)