Rajnath Singh asks DRDO to quickly develop hypersonic weapons | India News – Times of India


NEW DELHI: With China, Russia and the United States actively building aerodynamic maneuverability hypersonic weapons flying over five times the speed of sound (Mach 5), Secretary of Defense Rajnath Singh has instructed DRDO to move quickly in the direction of developing such an arsenal to ‘maintain’ India’s minimal credible deterrent against opponents.
To this end, India plans to conduct another test of its hypersonic technology demonstrator vehicle (HSTDV), powered by a scramjet engine, early next year, sources said.
HSTDV, which was successfully tested for the first time in September last year, will serve as a crucial building block in the development of long-range hypersonic weapons, which will take at least four to five years yet to become a reality. A hypersonic weapon can be either a `glider ‘sent from a rocket or a scramjet-powered` cruise missile’.
The Minister of Defense spoke at a DRDO event on Tuesday ballistic missile defense systems becomes more and more robust with time. “To maintain a minimum of credible deterrence, we need to immediately think about developing hypersonic cruise missiles. It will be a revolutionary step in our defense sector, and we all need to put our efforts into it,” he said.
Singh formally handed over a native anti-drone system, smart anti-air force (SAAW), modular bridge and advanced chaff variants for the armed forces at the event.
But his remarks on hypersonic weapons were significant, though he did not elaborate. They came amid China’s test of a nuclear-capable missile with a hypersonic glider and warhead on July 27 this year, which stunned military experts around the world. China has stolen the march over the United States, which has not yet developed hypersonic weapons with nuclear warheads.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, for his part, claims that his country is the world leader in the development of hypersonic missiles. Deliveries of the latest Zircon hypersonic cruise missiles to the Russian Navy will begin in 2022, he said recently.
India, of course, is nowhere near developing hypersonic weapons that can defeat an enemy’s missile defense shields with the combination of high speed and maneuverability.
Last year’s test involved the “cruise ship” or HSTDV carried by the “firing vessel”, powered by the solid rocket engine of a Agni-I ballistic missile to 30 km altitude.
The cruise vehicle disassembled and auto-ignited its scramjet engine to fly on its own for 23 seconds at Mach 6 speed. The HSTDV tests in the coming years will require prolonged hypersonic flights to ultimately pave the way for the development of hypersonic weapons.
That Indian Armed Forces already, the conventional ramjet-powered BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, which fly at Mach 2.8 speed, have evolved along with Russia. Their line range is being improved from the original 290 km to just over 400 km now. But while ramjet engines work well at supersonic speeds around Mach 3, their efficiency drops at hypersonic speeds.

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