Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle

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  • Published
    25th Jun, 2019


Recently, India conducted a successful first test flight of the indigenously developed Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV). The only other countries that possess this technology are the USA, Russia and China.


More on news

  • The vehicle was test launched using the Agni 1 missile platform.
  • In the test, a missile with the technology demonstrator vehicle mounted on it is launched.
  • This test marked a landmark achievement in airborne ballistics and reusable rockets.
  • A successful test could boost the development of a hypersonic cruise missile, the Brahmos II, which is currently under development with Scramjet technology.

Features of HSTDV

  • India’s HSTDV was test-fired by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) from the Integrated Test Range (ITR).
  • HSTDV is an unmanned scramjet demonstration vehicle that can cruise up to a speed of mach 6 (or six times the speed of sound) and rise up to an altitude of 32 km in 20 seconds
  • It has a range of uses, including missiles of the future, and energy-efficient, low cost and reusable satellite-launch vehicle.
  • The HSTDV cruise vehicle is mounted on a solid rocket motor, which will take it to a required altitude, and once it attains certain mach numbers for speed, the cruise vehicle will be ejected out of the launch vehicle.
  • The scramjet engine gets ignited automatically later. Besides its utility for long-range cruise missiles of the future, the dual-use technology will have multiple civilian applications too.
  • The key areas of technological emphasis in this project include hypersonic propulsion, wind transmission with minimal drag loss, enhancing aerodynamics, and refining the scramjet engine.
  • Various electro-optical tracking sensors, telemetry stations and radars tracked the vehicle through its course.


  • It can be used to launch satellites at low cost & will help add to India’s ballistic missile defence capabilities. This test puts India in an elite club of nations definitely
  • Security-wise, a hypersonic cruise missile can be key in taking out hostile airborne attacks, giving the Air Force an edge in terms of launching offenses of their own.
  • It is also a technological feat that can be incorporated into other areas such as sweeping surveillance tasks, all the while being energy efficient in operation.

About Scram-Jet technology

In scram-jet technology, fuel combustion takes place in a chamber in missile at supersonic speeds while in a ram jet system, the system collects air it needs from atmosphere during flight at subsonic speeds and propellants burn in combustion chamber.



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