India is planning to conduct the first flight trial of its Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) in the next 12 to 18 months, according to Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) officials.
The HSTDV programme aims to produce a hydrocarbon-fuelled scramjet test article capable of Mach 6-7 and autonomously guided flight. The HSTDV will pave the way for a hypersonic cruise missile and platforms that can perhaps be applied to other tasks, such as very high-speed reconnaissance.
According to DRDO sources, initial ground tests with the kerosene-fuelled scramjet (supersonic combustion ramjet) have been completed and the propulsion system is now being integrated with the air vehicle. Roughly 10 engine runs have been completed although the development team has yet to undertake a sustained 20-second burn, which is the operating time required for initial flight trials. This milestone will be achieved “soon”, IHS Jane’s was told. This contradicts some previous reports that stated the 20-second mark had already been reached.
From its main facility at Hyderabad, the DRDO’s Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) is responsible for the programme’s current phases.
Last year they said DRDO hopes to test fly hypersonic plane by early next year. Next year and next year but no testing.