Hypersonic Technology Demonstration Vehicle (HSTDV)
Coming to actually What is HSTDV?
The DRDO HSTDV is an unmanned scramjet demonstration aircraft that is used for hypersonic speed flight. It is being developed as a mode of carrier vehicle for hypersonic and long-range cruise missiles. It will also have multiple civilian applications including the launching of small satellites at very low cost.
Which countries have HSTDV ?
Currently, only four-nation has this technology- RUSSIA, USA, CHINA and INDIA.
You will find below the list of the last countries to have developed this technique.
Today India is among the one of four-nation in the world who has HSTDV technology. The other three nations are Russia, U.S.A, and China. This technology will pave the way for missiles that will travel at six times the speed of sound.
It has been developed by the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation). After successfully completing this mission, DRDO announced that they have demonstrated capabilities for highly complex technology which will behave like a building block for Next-generation Hypersonic vehicles. The HSTDV used the indigenously developed system of scramjet propulsion.
Its speed is around Mach 6. On 12 June 2019, this missile was test-fired from launch pad 4 of Integrated Test Range (ITR) from APJ Abdul Kalam testing range on Wheeler Island in Odishas Balasore. After the successful test of HSTDV DRDO told, India will make its first hypersonic missile in five years from now. The launch took place at 11.27 IST. The vehicle used the Agni missile booster. Again on 7 September 2020 DRDO successfully tested the scramjet-powered Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV). The cruise vehicle was again launched from Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Launch Complex situated at Wheeler Island at exactly 11:03 am.
HSTDV History and Development
The first object to ever achieve hypersonic speed was the two-stage Bumper rocket, consisting of a V-2 on the first stage and WAC Corporal in the second stage, manufactured by the U.S.A. In February 1949, at White Sands, the rocket touched the speed of Mach 6.7 or 8,288.12 km/h. But the vehicle burned on atmospheric re-entry, and only mere remnants were found.
American hypersonic missile tech is called DARPA which had two HTV-2s built for two flight tests in 2010 and 2011. The first HTV-2 flight was launched on 22 April 2010. The Minotaur IV light rocket was used as a booster for the HTV-2 and the launch site for this test was Vandenberg Air force base. DARPA planned these flights to show and study thermal protection systems and aerodynamic control features. Test flights were supported by various organizations like NASA, Space and Missile Systems Center, Lockheed Martin, etc.
Russia conducted two successful Hypersonic Vehicle test in 2016. They named their Vehicle as Avangard. In 2018, an Avangard was launched from the Missile base at Dombarovskiy and reached its target at the Kura shooting range, by travelling a distance of 5955 km.
The Chinese Hypersonic Vehicle is named as WU-14. It has been tested seven times, first on 9 January 2014, then on 7 August and 2 December 2014, again on 7 June and 27 November 2015. Then one test in April 2016 and twice in November 2017. The system became fully operational in 2019.
Other countries that are working on this technology.
Other countries that are working on this tech are Japan, Australia and Europe.
Japan is currently working on the development of two hypersonic weapons. On October 15, 2018, Japan’s newspaper from unknown sources said that country’s Defense Ministry had crafted the hypersonic weapon plan till 2026. The second type may arrive in 2028.
The Engineers of Australian Aerospace from the University of Queensland along with several industries and government partners worked to complete an experimental hypersonic test flight. This experimental test flight was named as HIFiRE 4. It was being conducted by the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and the Defence Science and Technology Group(DST). There were also some other partners. HIFiRE 4 is a hypersonic Vehicle, which is designed to fly at Mach 8. There is no further information available about the final testing.
France is currently the only EU Member State developing hypersonic missiles: a cruise missile and a glide vehicle but there is no news upon its final testing.
The United Kingdom also showed their interest on working over hypersonic missile by 2023, and are currently focusing on an ambitious hypersonic turbojet engine (Bosbotinis, 2020), but no more information on the missile seems available.