FUTURE STRIKE: India’s Hypersonic Cruise Missile Within A Decade

Source:-FUTURE STRIKE: India’s Hypersonic Cruise Missile Within A Decade

Hypersonic weapons refer to weapons that can travel at a speed faster than Mach 5 or in other words systems that can travel five times the speed of sound. The reasons why hypersonic weapons are considered deadly is because they comprise the capacities of both, the ballistic as well as cruise missile wherein they have the speed of a ballistic missile and the manoeuvrability of a cruise missile.

Hypersonic weapons are specifically designed to counter the modern ballistic missile defence system and to deliver conventional and nuclear payload at high velocities over long ranges.

China first claimed a hypersonic flight test in 2014 and had conducted six successful hypersonic tests by 2016. In September 2018, China created a record by testing three types of hypersonic vehicles at one go. In 2019, China became the first country in the world to announce the deployment of hypersonic weapons in the form of its DF-17 missile.

India will make Air-breathing Hypersonic Glide Vehicles (HGV) by overcoming all the challenges within a decade from now to use them in military warfare, opined scientists, at a one-day work-shop on “Challenges in Air-breathing Hypersonic Technologies” Scientists would make affordable hypersonic planes by 2050 with which humans could fly from New Delhi to New York within two hours.

There were lot of complexities in realising the dream of making these vehicles, since they have a great challenge of finding the materials that withstand at nearly 1,800 degree celsius temperature. Though the scientists across the world have made some ground breaking steps by demonstrating the Hypersonic vehicles flying them for a few seconds, the DRDL sources said that they had spent of lot of money on them.
The challenge lies in not only finding materials that withstands the high temperatures, but also it must be affordable for making the hypersonic vehicle in military hardware and possibly for public transportation. DMRL (Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory) and other research labs have been doing some research on this since 15 years, Hypersonic Technologies have always been a niche area delved only by institutions around the world.
Hypersonic weapons travel at least five times the speed of sound. HGV’s are distinguished from traditional ballistic missiles by their ability to manoeuvre and operate at lower altitudes. The HGV is designed to be invulnerable to intercept by any existing and prospective missile defence means of the potential adversary.
A hypersonic capability affords India more options for simultaneously striking ships at sea, forces ashore, and command functions using a force posture that appears deceivingly routine. Distance-wise, India’s weapons can already reach the ranges in question. However, to achieve simultaneous effects with existing subsonic capabilities, India must either forward deploy its missile systems or stagger launches as per the threat scenarios.
A hypersonic system would have significant benefits in a time-sensitive strike scenario, whether it be taking out a terrorist at a particular location or quickly knocking out vital enemy weapons or installations during a larger conflict. The immense speed of one of these craft could dramatically shrink the time it takes to go from first identifying any target to actually hitting it with a weapon, which in turns gives opponents significantly less time to notice they’ve been spotted and attempt to reposition, get into cover, or otherwise improve their defences.
India is one among, apart from HGV’s tactical uses and strategic goals, will also see humans flying across the continents in air-breathing hypersonic vehicles by 2050 since the research being carried out across the globe has got some positive results.
A hypersonic missile with a scramjet engine at Mach 20 plus is so indefensible .And it has tremendous range extension utility. For instance an Agni-5 with a hypersonic last stage will extend its range well beyond intercontinental distances.

Pentagon has described hypersonic flight ‘the new stealth’ for its promise of evading and outrunning the enemy fire. The effort to develop hypersonic engines is necessary because they can propel vehicles at a velocity that cannot be achieved from traditional turbine-powered jet engines.

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